Welcome to Belgium: e-Box Enterprise

Welcome to Belgium: e-Box Enterprise

As a web developer, it's always painful when you have to work with a badly designed web application. As a lucky Belgian and company owner, I need to connect to the "e-Box Enterprise". Let me tell you how painful this is.

Useless emails

The e-Box Enterprise aggregates messages from all sources for your company. Each time there is a new message, you get a notification by email telling you there is a new message available.

But that notification doesn't contain any information. Is it an important message? Is it urgent? Is there a deadline?

You don't know! So, each time, I need to connect to check what this is about. And most of the time, it's useless stuff like VAT notification.

I wish there was more information in the email: sender, type of message, and deadline if any.

EDIT December 2023 : good thing ! This is now a thing, they finally included the subject of the document :-) And I get the email in my own language.

So slow

Since you don't know what the notification is about, you need to connect. So, first you need to identify using ItsMe. That's not too bad, just make sure you get your phone near you.

And then, you enter a wonderfully (ahem) designed angular application that makes TONS of ajax calls to load data from various sources. So, obviously, you get a wonderful loader with no idea of progress, because how could they know how long it's going to take ?

And when I say it's slow, it's like, really slow. Some calls take up to 13 seconds. When loading the e-Box, you have time to take your coffee. Sometimes it does load fast (when things are cached, I guess), but sometimes, half of the fetch calls fail with 403, 500 or CORS errors.

And sometimes, it doesn't work

Once your coffee is finished, you get back to the app, and what do you see? You would expect a list of messages, but sometimes, it doesn't work, saying you don't have access to the application. Which is false, because sometimes it works just fine, with the same credentials, same urls, same browser, same everything.

And when it does manage to load the list, sometimes it fails at replacing the values. Ah, the good old {{value1}}...

And when it works, it's not really helpful

When everything works, you can read the message. So here I have a friendly message of MyMinfin... as a pdf attachment. So you download the pdf, called with the very unique name "message from myminfin" (i got another one which was called "mainDocument.pdf"... so you know, naming things is hard I know).

Do they know you can display the pdf in an iframe ? Nope...

And what's inside the pdf? You guessed it, a new button ! Because, you know, it would be too hard to put the actual message from MyMinfin in the e-Box, it's much more fun to have to go somewhere else to read the message.

So you go to MyMinfin. Where sometimes you need to login. AGAIN. Then you need to pick if you login for yourself or for your company. The whole thing cannot work automatically, because you clicked in a bloody link in a pdf. Then you go to a list of messages. Then you download another PDF.

And then you realize it's not relevant and you just lost 15 minutes out of nowhere.

Welcome to productive Belgium :-)