The BLM Payment Portal (PayPortal) system is deployed centrally in an enterprise database and application server environment. The application is a public-facing web application supporting HTTP/SSL protocol. PayPortal allows general public users to search and pay annual mining claim maintenance fees.
The system has a distributed architecture using standard J2EE implementation patterns and Service Oriented Architecture for interfacing with Legacy systems like LR2K and CBS. PayPortal can be defined as a three-tier architecture consisting mainly of Client tier, Middle Tier and Persistence Tier.
The client tier components are executed on the user’s Internet browser, the middle tier components are executed on a J2EE compliant web server, specifically, Apache Tomcat 7 and the persistence tier consists of Java components that enable the data persistence and transaction management. PayPortal has a Web Service component that provides SOAP based web services, Implemented in Apache Axis2, that will enable LR2000 to be updated frequently with the mining claims that are being paid by users of the payment portal.
BLM wanted an experienced service provider to address the operational challenges required to get the application paradigm deployed into the existing DMZ infrastructure.
As the original developers of the Payment Portal and Mining Claims applications, NexGen has comprehensive system knowledge of both. For this project, we were able to combine this experience with knowledge of BLM IT operations, security policies, infrastructure, and PayPortal business and mission needs.
NexGen revised application architecture and interface to the Pay.gov system. We migrated the application from using the OCI interface to the TCS Online interface. This newer application programming interface (API) allows for better collection of required elements in the user's address information that is needed by CBS.
The core payment portal functionality was decoupled from the mining claims application allowing for independent support and development. This also included modifying the inbound API from SOAP based to REST. This simplified interface will allow for easier integration of Payment Portal into other applications.
The Mining Claims application was updated to a more modern look and feel without compromising functionality. New affordances were added to aid in navigation, and data retrieval. The minimum number of button clicks to pay was reduced by 40%.
Application support for the OCI interface API was re-established at the request of the COR, on very short notice (2 days) when the John Day River Permit system insisted to be allowed to remain on that version of PayPortal.
The Payment Portal application was created by NexGen on behalf of the BLM. This application broke ground by providing the BLM a real-time interface to the Treasury’s Pay.gov service. Operational challenges for getting the application paradigm deployed into the existing DMZ infrastructure were overcome with tenacity and our knowledge for navigating the BLM operations and engineering organization. In its first operational season Mining Claims collected $1.69 million.