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A Method and System for Automatically Generation of Configuration Tool Disclosure Number: IPCOM000185386D
Original Publication Date: 2009-Jul-23
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2009-Jul-23

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This article illustrate a method to generate a configuration tool according to the configuration data and meta data. The data constraints and business contraints are enforced in the generated tool according to the meta data. This method will save the development and testing effort by generating the configuration tool instead of programming the configuration tool.

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A Method and System for Automatically Generation of Configuration Tool

There is a tendency of increasing the configurability of applications, in order to eliminate or reduceone-off development requirements. This causes complexity in configuring an application andconsequently the task of configuring an application becomes more important and more complex.

In most situations configuration data will reside in multiple components of the application and the configuration parameters across these different components must be consistent for the application to behave normally.

Data format validity, data integrity, and logic constraint between data are very important for application configuration.

There are some tools that can do post configurationverification of data constraints, and other configuration tools that can pre-check and validate the configuration input. There are several problemswith existing configuration tools.

The development effort is huge if the configurationis complex

Whenever there is a change in the configuration procedure, either the data type constraints or new dependencies, the configuration tools must be updated.

If there are new features or new release for the software, additional effort to develop the configuration tools is needed for the new release or new features.

Here is an example which use database table to store the configuration

The above example is a configuration table used forone solution. In the configuration table, it defined the relationship between database tables and attributes of Content Manager and the relationship is stored in database table. When the user wants to configure the solution, there are several ways to do that

  Do the configuration manually in the database system. The problem will be that it is very difficult for the user to detect the configuration error. For example, the user might input wrong attribute name in the configuration that is hard to detect by database system, not the user, not the application

  Use a configuration tool such as an Excel based tool, which can be developed to maintain or check the data integrity of the configuration, but if there are complex configuration tables, the development effort for the tool itself will be large.

Is there a way that can use less effort but build astrong configuration tools?

This article illustrates a new method to convert the configuration meta-data i.e. constraints, restrictions and dependencies of the configuration


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parameters into a full fledge easy to use configuration tool. In the example in this article, an XML is used to define the configuration meta-data. The proposed system will parse this xml specification to generate an off-line configuration tool, and then the user can input configuration data in the configuration tool while the tool wi...