It all started, as these things often do, with Excel. Ok, so not very many origin stories begin with a spreadsheet program, but what can you do.
I was working as a contractor for Thomson Learning (before the big merger) and they wanted to streamline part of their ordering process. At the time, a lot of their products were stored in Excel spreadsheets. That's right, no database in sight. In order to process an order, a customer service rep would have to mark the order on the spreadsheet, then manually transfer the order information to another program (I think it was a custom VB app...actually now that I look at the screenshot I remember, it was the Order Wizard) to complete the order. The process could take hours, even days.
Highly inefficient? You betcha, ya.
The ultimate goal was to move away from spreadsheets of course, but that was a large, long-term project. So we went with the next best thing - write an app that would handle the transfer of data from the spreadsheets to the VB app.
So the Excel Order Form Processor was born. From a UI standpoint, it was, well, somewhat sparse - just a file upload control to upload the spreadsheet, and a 'Process' button. So simple. So nice.
Under the hood, I must admit, it was a beast. Interfacing with Excel and the VB app was a challenge, to say the least. By normal programming standards it was kinda slow, but compared to the old method it was a huge improvement. That one program took the ordering process from hours or days to a little under ten minutes.
I loved that program. I loved that such a little, unobtrusive program could make such a difference. And it was in that spirit that MAS was born. Little apps, micro apps, with the power to solve big problems.
And that's what we're all about.