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The practical integration of manufacturing applications

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/02/1992
<mark>Journal</mark>Software: Practice and Experience
Issue number2
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)183-207
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The need to integrate the operation of computer applications is becoming an increasingly prominent issue in industrial firms. Mechanisms have to be developed to allow these systems to share the information they generate and use—to ensure that elements of data with a common meaning, in different systems, have consistent values. The applications are normally proprietary packages, of widely varying types, usually selected for their effectiveness as free‐standing systems; they cannot as a result be modified to any appreciable extent during integration. An approach to integration that is based on the distributed updates of complex objects just before use is described in this paper. The implementation provides a transportation service that moves information from one location to another, and a transcription service that transforms objects from their native formats in one application to those comprehensible in another. Transcription is based on using an intermediate neutral data model—independent of data formats in particular applications. The transport facilities are modelled satisfactorily in a process‐oriented notation such as CSP, whereas the transcription operations are modelled better with a set‐based notation such as Z. These specifications have been implemented primarily using Unix communication mechanisms and a proprietary relational database management system.