The .NET Framework (pronounced dot net) is a software framework developed by Microsoft that runs on Microsoft Windows. The framework offers a range of components, such as user interface widgets (drop-down lists, buttons, form fields, date picker fields, etc.), as well as common security and database functions. These components can be used by software developers as building blocks to develop software systems. Versions of .NET exist for desktops and mobile devices such as smartphones. The .NET framework can be used free of charge.

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Many websites are developed using one programming language on the server and another within the browser. For example, on the server it might be PHP that is working with a database and presenting information in HTML. Inside the browser, there might be JavaScript for more interactivity such as displaying popups or validating data as a user types it - for example to show whether a password is strong enough. The Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is a collection of tools that allows the same rich user interfaces to be built almost entirely using Java. Much of this code runs on the server, just like the PHP would in the example. However, for interactivity inside the browser, the Java is converted automatically into JavaScript by the tools, mostly without the developer worrying about the detail. The benefit of this is that the programmer can concentrate on providing functionality to the customer rather than, for example, the various ways a traditional website needs to communicate between different languages.

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Java is a programming language that was first released in 1995. It is fast, secure and reliable and is now one of the most popular programming languages in use, with a reported 9 million developers in 2014 and 3 billion deployments. It is portable, which means that programs written in Java can run similarly on any hardware or operating system. Java is used in desktop applications, websites and mobile applications, as well as software that controls consumer devices such as microwave ovens.

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JavaScript is a computer programming language which is commonly used inside web browsers. It allows typically small pieces of code to run inside web pages to make them more interactive with the user. For example, a user might be filling in a website registration form. When that person enters his or her password twice, a message might appear to warn them that the passwords don't match. This kind of functionality is commonly implemented using JavaScript code.

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Laravel is a free, open-source PHP web framework which provides support for the model–view–controller (MVC) design pattern.  We use Laravel because it provides a whole host of useful features, enabling us to quickly get up and running with our website projects.


MARC (MAchine-Readable Cataloguing) standards are a set of digital formats for describing books and other items catalogued in libraries. Developed during the 1960s, MARC formats had become become an international standard for the dissemination of bibliographic data by 1973. Fields in a MARC record provide information about the item the record is describing, such as the author, titles, publisher, date, etc.

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Microsoft Excel Automation

Microsoft Excel is a spreadsheet application belonging to the Microsoft Office suite. It is widely used around the world by businesses and individuals and has been recognised as the industry standard for spreadsheets for many years. The data held in an Excel spreadsheet can be modified and transformed manually by a user to perform many useful tasks. Tasks can also be automated; that is to say that a program can be written to modify the spreadsheet according to a set of business rules. Automation saves companies time and money, allowing tedious, repetitive tasks to be performed instantly, accurately, and consistently across the whole organisation.

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Microsoft SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a database management system developed by Microsoft. A database management system is a tool used by software developers to build databases, i.e. structured collections of related data such as customers, orders or products. It is available in a variety of flavours, for example starting at the free SQL Server Express edition right up to the fully featured SQL Server Enterprise edition. This means that a deployment can grow over time - provided funding is available - if a customer wants to exploit its more advanced features, such as database snapshots.

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MySQL (pronounced "My S Q L" or "My Sequel") is a Database Management System. It is a tool used by software developers to build databases, i.e. structured collections of related data (e.g. customers, orders, products), and is often used in web-based applications. MySQL is an open source product, which means that it can be used free of charge, making it one of the most popular database systems available.

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ONIX (ONline Information eXchange) refers to a standard format for representing bibliographic information in text files within the book industry. It covers both physical books and eBooks. ONIX files can be read, written and understood by a computer program, and are also fairly straightforward for humans to understand. ONIX is used for transferring book information between publishers, booksellers and other users of book-related data in the book industry.

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Oracle is a leading Database Management System produced by Oracle Corporation. It is used by software developers to build databases, i.e. structured collections of related data, such as customers, orders or products. It is very powerful, capable of dealing with large amounts of data and a high number of users performing many tasks at the same time.

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Pentaho Data Integration

Pentaho Data Integration (often Pentaho for short) is a tool for transforming data, typically from one format into another. As an example, you might use it to transfer some files made available to you by a vendor, perform some transformation on them, then load them in to your own database. It is open source and highly extensible, which means that if it doesn't support a feature you want, you can add it yourself by using a script or some Java code. While it would be possible to achieve the same results using a custom program or even just a script, one of the big benefits of Pentaho is that during the design process, the sequence of desired operations can be visualised in a purpose-made editor.

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SmartGWT is a high quality set of widgets for use with the Google Web Toolkit. Out of the box, these look highly professional, and developers can write less code through data binding, a feature which ties a component on the screen to a piece of data without much effort. Components such as the ListGrid scale to large data sets by only loading data in small chunks, so that web pages with large amounts of data can start to show information to the user before all the data has been retrieved.

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Spring Framework

Through a feature known as Inversion of Control, the Spring Framework turns on its head the way a piece of software is written. Instead of having lots of lines of code just to get a program started, configuration is used to do this wiring - in some cases built using a visual editor. The developer can then concentrate on writing individual components that have clear purposes and are well tested. Spring also makes database development easier, again by reducing the number of lines of code that are needed.

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SQLite is a database management system used by developers to build databases. It has a very small footprint, meaning that the entire database is stored in one single file. It is used today by several widespread browsers, operating systems and embedded systems. SQLite is open source, which means that it can be used free of charge.

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XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) is a language typically allowing an XML document to be transformed into something else. For example, an XML document might contain details of a single customer order. An XSLT might be used to convert this into HTML for display in a web page. Another XSLT might transform it into an automated order to a third-party vendor.

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