Enterprise Web Applications

We build web applications using the Drupal open source CMS framework along with several other tools including jQuery, jQuery UI and jQuery Mobile. Alongside our Drupal developers, we have experts covering the entire scope of creating web applications from deployment, performance tuning and content creation.

 
Undisclosed
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
2 - 9
 Founded
2011
Show all +
Ottawa, Canada
headquarters
  • 417C Hazeldean Road
    Ottawa, ON K2L 4C6
    Canada

Portfolio

Key clients: 

 

  • University of Ottawa
  • City of Ottawa
  • Statistics Canada

Reviews

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Monitor Display Development for Housing Company

“We now have an awesome communication tool inside the buildings, ... .”

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Sept. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Coldfront Labs provides development services, working on both hardware and software elements of a monitor display project. They used Drupal, MySQL, and various API connections for the web application.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Ottawa, Canada
Energy and Sustainability Officer, Housing Nonprofit
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The complex project has been handled well by the Coldfront Labs team who uses their technical expertise and design skills to develop a good solution. The team manages the work effectively using online tools, and ensures that they are always available.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the energy and sustainability officer of a housing organization. I work in the asset management department, where I specifically manage energy and sustainability, looking at utility bills and doing energy projects.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Coldfront Labs?

We started an energy engagement program, working with the tenants to increase energy savings. We needed a building-specific web application that displayed utility consumptions in real time.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Coldfront Labs built our web app. It’s based on Drupal, has a MySQL database, and it has API connections. We ended up with four web pages that displayed utility information specific to each of our four buildings, which also had comparative information for similar, benchmark buildings.

There are things like a utility management system and an energy cap, which needed to pull data from our utility bills. We also had data loggers that got real-time energy readings, as well as some weather data that needed to be downloaded every day. We mixed all of those through a couple of backend algorithms that corrected for weather normalization. There was also a formula to calculate the energy savings since implementation.

Coldfront worked on the UI design as well, adapting our branding to the four pages. They also provided consultation on how to get our TVs to display the information. They suggested using Chromebits as computers for the screens, and we set them up to work in kiosk mode. They showed me how to interface with those devices, and we’ve done some troubleshooting from time to time.

What is the team composition?

We worked with a project manager, the main developer, a UI designer, and two other people from their team.

How did you come to work with Coldfront Labs?

We put out a request for proposal to five different firms, and we got four different answers from companies in Toronto and Ottawa. We looked over those proposals, ranked them, and selected Coldfront Labs based on their technical and financial components.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent $38,000 CAD (approximately $28,000 USD).

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked on the project from September 2017–January 2018. There’ve been tweaks along the way since then and they’ve provided ongoing support.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

We focused on the results of the project for monitoring tenants’ impact on energy consumption: We now have an awesome communication tool inside the buildings, which has been crucial for the rollout of the project. Without Coldfront’s work, it wouldn’t look anything like it does.

How did Coldfront Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

They’ve performed very well. Once we entered the development stage, we had meetings every week that were efficient and pertinent. When we identified an issue, they dealt with it promptly. We managed to stay on schedule and budget. Overall, it’s been a very positive experience.

What did you find most impressive about them?

One thing I’ve found impressive is their use of technology. They’re a web firm, so I shouldn’t expect any less, but everything is done through a virtual meeting tool that’s easy to use. If we have a question, we can get on the phone and look at the problem in real time. It’s extremely useful and efficient, as well as a unique approach that distinguishes them from other providers. I feel like I’m talking to people who are curious about problems and want to find solutions.

Are there any areas they could improve?

We had a struggle with the hardware piece, which took us a bit longer to figure out. I should’ve maybe thought of the potential issues ahead of time, but it is Coldfront’s business.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

Be as ready as possible. When they get going, it’s more likely that we’re the bottleneck and they’re waiting on us. It’s important to have all algorithms, calculations, and sketches ready to go.

4.5
Overall Score The experience was positive.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We were a bit late on our schedule.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They were significantly lower than the other bidders, and we got excellent quality.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We’re very satisfied, but I’m sure a better version would be possible.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I’d have no reservations about recommending them.

Drupal Development & Hosting for Local Public Library

"They are incredibly reliable with breadth and quality to their technical expertise."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Coldfront has provided Drupal development and maintenance spanning over multiple projects and years. They’ve expanded from module and website development to server hosting and maintenance.

The Reviewer
 
201-500 Employees
 
Ottawa, Canada
Chris Simmons
Coordinator, Ottawa Public Library
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Coldfront has a reliable force of dedicated Drupal developers that have a wide breadth and depth of knowledge and experience. They are responsive, especially to server issues, and make sure that projects are well documented from the beginning of the project.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the coordinator of web and desktop projects and operations for the Ottawa Public Library.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Coldfront Labs?

We needed to clean up some custom Drupal development and code work that we had done, and we were looking for additional custom development from a shop with Drupal dedicated developers.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We write up our requirements and, as needed, go through a design process. They’ve written custom Drupal modules, which include room bookings, program registrations, and booking equipment for our maker spaces. In addition to maintaining these modules, they also currently do all of our server hosting and maintenance.

Recently, they've redesigned a legacy children’s website for us that was no longer going to be supported. For that project, we went through an entire design exercise to create the wireframes and mockup, which went through an iterative process of testing, feedback, and redesign. They did all of the design and theming work, as well as setting up an easy to maintain administrative interface so that we could make edits as required.

What is the team composition?

There are typically three or four staff members on each project and Matthew (CEO and Co-Founder, Coldfront Labs) acts as the project manager.

How did you come to work with Coldfront Labs?

We heard about them from the city of Ottawa, who they had worked with. They were also heavily involved in the local Drupal community, so they had quite a few good references.

How much have you invested with them?

We’ve spent over $250,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We initially began working with Coldfront in 2014, and they still work with us supporting a few applications and our website.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

Our server and application hosting uptime has increased dramatically—approximately 99.5% to 99.9%. A custom interactive report they created for us significantly increased engagement with what was an often-overlooked report. They have a good internal QA mechanism that ensures their code is clean.

How did Coldfront Labs perform from a project management standpoint?

All of the projects we’ve worked on together have been laid out, scoped, and documented well. They are responsive; we’ve seen them respond to server issues within five minutes. We use GitLab as our project management tool in addition to in-person meetings.

When you work on so many projects, there will inevitably be times of friction or difficulties. Any time this has happened, things are quickly escalated to Matthew, who brings everyone together to resolve the issue.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They are incredibly reliable with breadth and quality to their technical expertise. They really are full stack developers. If there’s any issue with our applications, they’re superb at debugging them and getting the issue resolved quickly.

Are there any areas they could improve?

There’s nothing I can think of. They’ve recently added more staff, which has increased their depth of knowledge and experience.

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Be clear in your requirements and agree on a technical plan beforehand. There are multiple ways of developing in Drupal, so it avoids confusion and problems down the line if you agree on a technical approach at the beginning of the project.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    We haven't had a problem meeting any deadline. They're quick to act when deadlines are closing in.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    With our hosting agreement, we probably got double the services for a fraction of the cost.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We haven’t had a single issue with any deliverables so far.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    We've recommended them to a number of other clients and organizations that we know.

Drupal Implementation Canadian University

"They're very flexible and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

Coldfront Labs created the architecture for a university’s student portal. Project challenges included: making the site bilingual, meeting diverse student needs, and allowing for growth in the design.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 Employees
 
Ottawa, Canada
IT Manager, Student Services at the University of Ottawa
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The site provides a noticeably better service for students and has a simpler infrastructure for updates and improvements. Coldfront Labs understood the university’s business needs and how to create a site that met those needs. They are approachable and flexible. 

BACKGROUND

Could you briefly describe your organization?

I work for the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. We’re an undergraduate and graduate institution with approximately 45,000 students and between 3,000 and 4,000 faculty and staff. We focus on providing student services. 

What is your position?

I’m an IT manager in student services.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges you were attempting to address when you initiated the relationship with Coldfront Labs?

We had a commercial student portal in place that wasn’t really meeting the needs of our school, and it was expensive to maintain because we’re paying this annual maintenance. So, we approached Coldfront to see if we could design ones separately, and do it in-house with their guidance.

One of the challenges we face here at the university is that we’re a bilingual university, so all of our services have to be offered in both French and English. It is really hard for us to find commercial software out there that makes that easy transition between both languages.

SOLUTION

Could you describe the scope of the project? For example, did it involve custom design, backend development, training, support, etc.?

We really engaged them right from the start. We’re fortunate because they were former students of the university, so they understand the needs and the requirements of students. These guys were involved right from the initial requirement-gathering phase, plus we worked with the communications team at the university on this project. They are there when we were trying to figure out what kind of content, and what the requirements are for how we wanted to display that content and target it for students.

Based on those requirements, they were able to present and architecture to us, which we felt would meet our needs, and we’d be able to grow with. Then, we went from there. We had an architecture delivered to us, and then smaller, individual features making use of various components within that architecture.

The relationship that we had with them was to use them as guides for our in-house designers as well. We used a lot of their work right on site. We’d bring them in. They would develop a piece, build the architecture, and then my team would take that architecture and develop additional components based off of it. They were instructors to us in some capacity, too. 

They worked right through with us on the project, right from the early requirement gathering to development and right out to when we pushed it live. They even helped us with the stress testing of it.

How did you choose Coldfront Labs as your solution partner?

Any project above a certain amount at the university, because we’re a public institution funded by the government, we have to be accountable for how we select. It was an RFP [request for proposal] that we had put out. We had a couple of responses with very high-level requirements. Each response received was evaluated based on how we thought they were going to deal with our requirements as well as cost as well.

By going to Coldfront, we were able to build something based off an architecture that they were able to help us design, and then have it fully bilingual. We were able to integrate that into existing systems easily, pull data from existing systems, and present better all-around services to our students.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in monetary terms?

The initial contract was slightly below $100,000.

When was the project completed?

We launched a beta version of the site in April of 2013. It ran in parallel with the commercial software. As of June, we switched everything to the new Drupal site, and then shut down the commercial site.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics or metrics that would demonstrate the effectiveness of the work Coldfront Labs has delivered?

It’s hard here at the university because we’re dealing with a very tech-savvy population who expect things to work. They tend to give you feedback only when things don’t work. We went from a very complicated system with a very complex infrastructure that was very difficult to integrate and release new functionality as it is requested. Now, with the architecture we have, we’ve made the infrastructure very simple, so it’s easier for us to scale up the product during high peak times, such as registration or when people are trying to find grades right after the end of the term or something like that. Plus, we’ve been able to deliver new functionality a lot quicker based on this architecture because everything is modular.

I can say that since we’ve launched, we’ve had 3.5 million visits to the site. We average more than 25,000 visits a day to the site for students. When we launched in beta, we did have feedback. We collected feedback from students. They really liked the site.

One of the things that we did was made the site completely responsive. It shows up well on tablets and other mobile devices, so that’s very much appreciated. I see by the number of issues I receive that the number of incidents raised by students are way down.

The site itself is more stable. We have a lot more control of it. We’ve made the environment easier to manage, but where it’s our site and not commercial software, it’s easier for us to debug and figure out when there is a problem, what’s going on with it, and fix it quickly.

Do you feel that transitioning to the Drupal content management system was an appropriate decision for your immediate needs as well as into the near future?

Absolutely. It’s so much more scalable for us. As a manager, it’s a lot easier for me if somebody comes to me with a request, such as from the registrar’s office, I know that I have the data available. It’s just a matter for me creating a new channel for you and displaying that data.

The old system was not flexible. It was very hard to do the development. If we wanted anything, we had to hack it a lot to make it even work. We’re much better off. Just managing content is a lot easier now than the commercial system.

When working with Coldfront Labs, is there anything you would consider unique or special about them compared to other service providers you’ve worked with?

I think the biggest bonus is that they were students here at our institution, so they completely understand the concept of everything has to be bilingual. People handle bilingual in different ways, but they really knew the way in which the university needed be bilingual. Plus, they understood our business. They had a good sense of the types of course offerings, how those courses are offered, and how they’re displayed to students. That was really useful for us. We didn’t have to spend a lot of time explaining the business to them because they understood that business.

They’re a smaller shop, so they’re a little bit easier to get hold of. They’re good to work with, but they’re casual and approachable when we had issues, when we had questions, or maybe even may have strayed from original requirements and stuff. They're very flexible and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done.

In retrospect, are there any areas that you think they could improve upon, or are there things you might do differently as the client before approaching this type of project?

No. I knew what I was getting into when I got into it. I think you have to be cognizant that they are a smaller shop. There’s only three or four of them working on projects. They can be spread a bit thin at times. They do a good job at estimating how much effort projects are going to take. But they don't have the luxury of being able to reject certain projects. I think they need to be careful that they don’t burn themselves out.

4.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Custom Drupal Development Government Research Agency

“They’ll build something from scratch, based on your specific requirements and goals."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
Project summary: 

Coldfront Labs provided both backend and frontend services with the goal of standardizing data dissemination. The team integrated a number of services and worked on UX/UI design.

The Reviewer
 
Large Enterprise
 
Canada
Systems Chief, Administration & Dissemination
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Coldfront Labs specializes in Drupal development, and the team made clear the benefits of a standardization project. The team has had a positive impact overall, meeting all deadlines with good value and design.

BACKGROUND

Could you briefly describe your organization?

I work for Statistics Canada. We produce data and we publish some statistics from a variety of sources. We're essentially a statistical agency, and what we do is publish data, like numbers that affect the economy. 

What is your position?

I’m a systems chief. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges you were attempting to address when you initiated the relationship with Coldfront Labs?

We have many systems that do the same sort of thing. We have a database for census information. We have a database for our trade clients. We have another big statistical database called CANSIM, another one for the agriculture census. With the project that they’re working on, it’s called our new dissemination model. We’re trying to standardize the way in which we disseminate our statistical data, by not having multiple systems, and instead having one unified approach to disseminating our statistical data. There are many people that are involved in this project. It’s a multimillion dollar project. Their responsibility is on the frontend of disseminating selected data, and the frontend presentation with the end-user.

SOLUTION

Could you describe the scope of this project? For example, did it involve custom design, backend development, training, or ongoing support?

It’s quite challenging. The frontend has to speak to a number of Web services. They had introduced a whole new way to navigate the Statistics Canada website. It was challenging, and there was a lot of work to be done.

We use an open source CMS called Drupal. We also use an open source search engine called Solr. We also consume various Web services that are produced within the agency. They've been doing a lot of custom development for us on the backend of those systems. They also collaborate closely with us on the frontend design and interface.

How did you select Coldfront Labs as your solution partner?

As a government entity, we have a procurement vehicle called the T-VIPS. These are companies that are allowed to do business with the federal government. We determined what the statement of work was and then defined our evaluation criteria. At that point we distributed a number of RFPs. We invited many companies to demo for us. They were all evaluated against the same criteria. The way it’s scored is there’s 70 percent for their technical ability and then 30 percent based on the price of the resource. Coldfront Labs performed the best on both criteria. 

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in monetary terms?

That’s a good question. Obviously, the whole project is in many millions of dollars. I would estimate the implementation was between $450,000 and $500,000.

When was the project completed?

It’s actually a multiyear project and it remains ongoing. We've already had our beta launch. We've accomplished to milestones thus far and have another two to go before the entire process is finished. 

When was the most recent milestone completed?

January of 2014.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or user feedback that would demonstrate the effectiveness of the work they've delivered?

I think they were working with one of our most difficult clients, and I’ve worked with them on other projects with other resources that I have within the agency. When we started the work, the client was skeptical about the technology and the approach. It wasn’t very long when, after seeing the first deliverables, the client was totally on board and extremely happy. This is a very difficult client to please. That’s one way to measure the effectiveness.

It isn’t just that they assisted with that particular project. We also do other projects with Drupal and Solr. They've provided mentoring and training back to other team members, too. They’ve been very valuable to have on board for the last little bit.

Do you remain confident that the Drupal CMS has adequately met your business needs?

Most definitely.

When working with Coldfront Labs, is there anything you would consider unique or special about them compared to other vendors you’ve worked with?

They’re an open source shop that specializes in Drupal application development. I think that if you were to put out a contract that says I’m looking for Drupal guys, I think you’d get a lot of people. Most of them are more akin to pure site builders. I'm sure many are well qualified to implement the Drupal solution, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're proficient at customizations. At Coldfront, they're real application developers. They’ll build something from scratch, based on your specific requirements and goals. There really aren't that many developers that can create such high quality applications on the Drupal platform. 

In retrospect, are there areas that you think they could improve upon, or are there things you'd do differently as the client before approaching this type of project?

To tell you the truth, no. They’ve had nothing but a really positive impact. Not just the project that we’re working on, but other projects as well that use similar technologies, so I don’t really know what I would have done then differently. I've been thoroughly impressed by their performance. 

5.0
Overall Score It’s fantastic. To tell you the truth, I hope that they’re going to be around for a while.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    There are a lot of unknowns, a lot of issues. It was amazing that they were able to meet our timeline, because the business was still figuring exactly what we wanted
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Drupal Enhancement and Support Municipal Government

"They actually take pride in what they deliver, which isn't necessarily always the case with vendors."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$1,000,000 - $9,999,999
Project summary: 

Coldfront Labs provided Drupal expertise for a municipal district’s platform migration. The team created customized solutions and trained staff on Drupal usage. 

The Reviewer
 
1001-10,000 Employees
 
Ottawa, Canada
Project Manager, Web Channels
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team improved reporting tool functionality and administrative tasks by 50%. Employee confidence and web ability have greatly gone up due to Coldfront Labs’ training and work. They are an easygoing and flexible group, which created a pleasant working relationship.

BACKGROUND

Could you briefly describe your company?

I work for the City of Ottawa, which is a fairly large organization. It’s a municipal government. We have close to 100 business lines.

What was your position?

I’m the project manager for the Web channel group [ottawa.ca]. We’re responsible for all publicly facing content.  

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

Could you describe the business challenges you were attempting to address when you began the relationship with Coldfront Labs?

We migrated our site to Drupal near the end of 2012. It was done to realize some value that we weren’t able to get from our previous software. It was completed rapidly, too. When I joined in 2013, we had some knowledge gap issues that needed to be rectified rather hastily. We also required some platform coaching for our staff. We essentially needed to find external Drupal experts that could walk us through the process and provide some customized solutions.

SOLUTION

Could you describe the scope of the projects? For instance, did it include custom visual design, backend development, training, and support?

It ranges from conducting custom Web design to strictly backend document migration work into Drupal. They’ve created custom scripts for us to enhance the functionality of our reporting tools, and they’ve held several training seminars for administrative duties, too.

How did you select Coldfront Labs as your solution partner?

We underwent a standard process in which we identify a need, where we have either scales gap or capacity gap and then we go out to the street and look for submissions coming back from individuals and companies. We then evaluate potential vendors based on previous experience, portfolio, and a few other factors. Coldfront Labs performed the best given our selection criteria. We definitely felt confident with their capabilities.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in monetary terms?

Our 2013 budget was approximately $2 million. This year is closer to $1.5 million.

When was the most recent project completed?

Our projects remain ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

In terms of results, could you share any statistics, metrics, or feedback that would demonstrate the effectiveness of the work they’ve delivered?

We were experiencing some considerable performance issues. Coldfront Labs came in and took charge of the situation. Based on what we put out and some of their recommendations, we managed to increase our performance by almost 50 percent. Typically, the City of Ottawa runs recreation registration nights, evenings in the spring and in the fall. The spring one is when we usually observe the highest volume of traffic during the entire year. This year, we went through that, and there wasn’t even a blip in our performance. Our servers were barely noticing the load.

They’ve also done an outstanding job in putting together a development process that everybody else could follow, which is not something that is easily measured. But, you can see when things run smoother because it’s a repeatable process, and people know how things are supposed to go.

The problem is, as a government entity, we’re not as driven by metrics as our private sector counterparts. We’re more interested in making sure that we can deliver to residents and users what it is that they want. We’re less concerned with overall cost savings and the bottom line.  

How do you think Coldfront Labs have performed on these projects? 

I’m extremely pleased with everybody that I’ve interacted with from Coldfront Labs. They’re very easygoing and flexible with their clients. The quality of their work speaks for itself. They actually take pride in what they deliver, which isn't necessarily always the case with vendors.

5.0
Overall Score It’s been an absolute pleasure.
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They’re on the higher side, but they’re definitely worth it.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer