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SIMS: Single Interface to Multiple Systems

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000128682D
Original Publication Date: 1988-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Sep-16
Document File: 12 page(s) / 44K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Jasmina Pavlin: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Most of the tasks performed by users of information systems involve interaction with multiple software servers. A typical task nay involve database retrieval, data interpretation, numerical calculation and report generation. The servers can be vastly different in their functional taA pabilities, view of the world and their input and output languages (e.g., databases and, expert systems). The user must understand the language and services provided by each servers and ex. press his task in the terms used by the server before he can decide whether the server provides a service required to perform the task. The application of servers is solely the user's responsibility. The system cannot help the user figure out how to perform his task, since there is no explicit representation of services provided by a server. Even when the user fully specifies his task in terms of available servers, he has to perform the task manually in all but the simplest of cases (e.g., UNIX pipes). The user's jab is not only difficult, but also prone to numerous errors, due to its ad hoc nature. We term the problem facing the user the software intsgiatioh problem. It consists of: selection and sequencing of software servers; enforcing compatibility between inputs and outputs of different servers, server invocation, execution monitoring, and result formulation.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

SIMS: Single Interface to Multiple Systems

Jasmina Pavlin Raymond L. Bates

Research Report ISIIRR,88-200 February 1888 University, of Southern California INFORMATION SCIENCES INSTITUTE 213/8z2-ISII Admiralty Way/Marina del Rey/California 90292*b69S This research is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency under Contraiet No. MDA903-;31-C..p335. Any opinions, conclusions or recomendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors' and should not be interpreted as representing the official opinion of DARPA, the U.S. Government, or any person or agency connected with them. SIMS: Single Interface to Multiple Systems

Jasmina Pavlirl Raymond L. Bates

I Introduction

Most of the tasks performed by users of information systems involve interaction with multiple software servers. A typical task nay involve database retrieval, data interpretation, numerical calculation and report generation. The servers can be vastly different in their functional taA pabilities, view of the world and their input and output languages (e.g., databases and, expert systems). The user must understand the language and services provided by each servers and ex. press his task in the terms used by the server before he can decide whether the server provides a service required to perform the task. The application of servers is solely the user's responsibility. The system cannot help the user figure out how to perform his task, since there is no explicit representation of services provided by a server. Even when the user fully specifies his task in terms of available servers, he has to perform the task manually in all but the simplest of cases (e.g., UNIX pipes). The user's jab is not only difficult, but also prone to numerous errors, due to its ad hoc nature. We term the problem facing the user the software intsgiatioh problem. It consists of: selection and sequencing of software servers; enforcing compatibility between inputs and outputs of different servers, server invocation, execution monitoring, and result formulation. The only approach to the software integration problem has been to build custom systems that support the integrated view of underlying servers. The advantage of custom systems is that the user can state his tasks in server-independent terms, and does not need td understand the language anti the functionality of each server. Such systems are hand- crafted for the application at hand, and are built at great expense. Although they may be well polished and functional; they ate very difficult to modify and generalize, because the integration is hardwired into the system. The principles underlying the integration are at best known only to the system designer, and are at worst nonexistent. Typically, when a new service is needed, the new system is built from scratch, since adding a server to the 'existing system or modifying an existing server to provide a desired...