The Approach - Second Stage Framework
In order to understand how Case Threads can be used, it is important to understand the approach the Case Threads team has taken to designing and developing the software.
As many first-time testers have found out, Case Threads does not match well with the common perception of contact management and case management software. Case Threads was never built with other software products in mind, nor was it our intent to produce something so unlike anything, anyone had ever seen that the product be completely alien to all users.
From the beginning stages of design, Case Threads was designed to be a framework first and everything else tool later. A framework is a generic or even abstract implementation of a common process. A framework is then customized to serve a particular process. It is that customization that becomes the tool for the end-user.
Constructing a Building to Understand Frameworks
Let's consider a real-world, out of software and techspeak concept of a framework. Think about the framework of a building. It has a foundation with framed walls and framed roof. Generally speaking, such a structure that could later become a restaurant, house, or store. Assuming that we customize it to become a store, we could then further customize it to become a hardware store, bait shop, or anything else we could think of. The point, of course, is that no matter what our end implementation of the framework of the building is, we will always need the common points of that framework to get started. To have a hardware store, bait shop or anything else, we will always need: a foundation, walls, and a roof.
Case Threads Is a Second-Stage Framework
Case Threads is that framework. Actually, Case Threads goes a step further, into what we call a second-stage framework. Frameworks, in the software world, tend to be extremely abstract and generally useless to an end-user. In most cases, the only people who discuss application frameworks are software developers.
Pointing back to our example of the house, Case Threads fits in the point where we've decided that the building framework will be a shop. A shop is still usable for purposes of housing inventory, checking out customers, and other such store functions, but to be really effective and useful, the store must display its wares appropriate to the type of store it is. For instance, a clothing store needs manequins, while a jewelry stored needs display cabinets. The concept to grasp here, is that shop can be used, but it isn't possible to get everything out of it that you can unless you customize it to your type of business.
As a second-stage framework, Case Threads is a step of abstraction above what most people regard as frameworks as it is tuned in to businesses that require the need to track clients and the work done for clients. More specifically, it is tied most closely to contact and matter management in the legal industry. Since it is more advanced than a simple framework, it actually has many usable elements right out of the box.
For example, the Matters screen contains only the most basic data required to track a matter at a generic level. There are input fields for a Matter Name, Matter Description, Matter Type, and a list of those people involved in the matter. The rest is up to you. Customize the Case Threads framework to add fields to the Matter screen to track any additional data that is of importance to your business. Customization doesn't always mean having to write actual Java code. In many cases, customization is entirely handles through simple application scripting.
Bad News and Good News
There are two bits of bad news in all this power and flexibility. The first part, is that you have to know your business and understand your needs to make the customizations. That's a task that is easier spoken than accomplished. This step can not be underestimated. The second share of bad news is that customization of the framework at this time, is not an easy chore. We make no smiling, marketing promises here!
The good news, of course, is that the Case Threads team is always more than happy to help you on your way.
By developing Case Threads as a second-stage framework, we open the opportunity for users to gain the highest level of flexibilty in how they use the software and how easily the software can adapt to their way of doing things. Case Threads gives you the shop, you only need to figure out what kind of shop you're running.