MISCOMP - an Information System tool-kit

Paper: 339
Session: E (talk)
Speaker: White, Vicky, Fermilab, Batavia
Keywords: C++, ODBMS's, object-oriented methods, data bases, electronic data management

MISCOMP - an Information System tool-kit

Victoria White
Computing Division, Fermilab
P.O. Box 500, Batavia, IL 60510


The Computing Division at Fermilab has carried out a project to build a
M-odern I-nformation S-ystem for C-omputing divisionís O-perations
M-anagement and P-lanning. The project was carried out with an object
oriented design, with the goal of accessing all information as business
objects through an Object Broker, regardless of the actual persistent
data storage mechanism. Much of the business data is actually managed
via an Oracle database. An Electronic Document/Data Management system
(EDMS) was selected and purchased last year - the Matrix product from
ADRA systems; a product which was later also chosen by CERN for its
Electronic Data Management pilot projects. Matrix is an object
management system based on an underlying Objectivity ODBMS. Other
commercial applications and tools used in the project include a
commercial Helpdesk product from Remedy, a CAD/database product from
Aperture, Tools.h++ from Roguewave, a persistent object manager -
Persistence from Persistence Software, Inc. and the XVT graphical user
interface builder and class library tool-kit from XVT Software Inc..
An Object Broker architecture has been developed which allows access to
a cache of memory resident objects by Web applications, applications
built using C++ and XVT, tcl/tk applications or any other application
conforming to the MISCOMP object services protocol and using one of the
supported connection protocols. Business applications can be easily
constructed using the tool-kit available and may have access to
documents and other objects stored in the Matrix system, as well as to
data residing in Oracle relational database tables, or other persistent
data stores. The Matrix system can be used to handle the business
workflow and signature chain involved, based on roles and groups. The
first application of the Matrix business workflow is for the processing
of requisitions and other administrative requests, with supporting
documentation, notations and attachments.

Although the MISCOMP project has focused on business rather than
physics applications, many of the lessons learned are relevant to the
problems we face in constructing online and offline systems for high
energy physics. These include carrying out an object system design,
programming a large system in C++, using an ODBMS, designing flexible
applications which can be built with many different tools, (including
Web based applications). In fact, the first pilot application of the
Matrix product at Fermilab was not for administrative use but was to
assist CDF with an electronic product management system for their
Silicon Vertex Detector (see Poster Paper). Indeed much of the toolkit
is applicable to more general data and information management.

The MISCOMP object services and object-based application framework are
about to go into production use. A large repository of business data
had previously been accumulated in an Oracle data repository and has
been in constant use for the management and tracking of all of the
computers, network equipment, electronics pool and software and hardware
maintenance contracts managed by the Computing Division. Applications
using, modifying, managing, or browsing the data may now do so through
the object interface allowing combined access to the Oracle repository
and the Matrix EDMS. GUI and web applications can be constructed
quickly and easily using this MISCOMP tool-kit.