Fig 1. A conceptual framework
Manufactures and suppliers
Specific RINET product databases for manufactured product information maintained by product manufacture or supplier. Database authoring tool for populating the RINET product database.Information providers
Index database and indexing tool to automatically collect index data from distributed manufacturer RINET databases. Server software to manage and service end-user query-requests to the index database.End-Users
Client-side software components for web browsers or user applications to query the index database and to connect to manufacturer or supplier web-servers to download detailed product information.
The software and databases are developed using object-oriented technology. Software components were implemented in Java and C++ while the databases were implemented in the object database system POET.
The RINET project is part of the finish national VERA program.
End-users such as consultants (architects engineers), contractors and clients (building owner/operators) are faced with the dilemma of firstly identifying and locating the Internet-sites that offer relevant information and secondly having to learn to operate a new user-interface and search strategy each time they log onto a new site. Having matched the product data to their search criteria, re-keying of the information into user applications is usually necessary.
The index server is a centrally located service running at an information provider site. The clear advantages of having a central service may be summarized from the end-user and manufacturer perspective as:
RINET manufacturer database. The RINET manufacturer database provides the manufacturers with a standardized means of presenting information on their products. As with the index database all information on a product are provided and maintained in property sets. An authoring tool (fig 2.) is provided for manufactures. The tool provides functionality to browse, edit and enter product data into the RINET database. A key aspect of the RINET architecture is to duplicate as little product information to the index server as possible that are not relevant to the property based search method used. Therefor does the manufacturer ability to provide detailed product information via a web-site play an important role in the architecture. Information such as detailed product information sheets, technical data – applicable standards, codes, approvals, environmental aspects, installation and maintenance instructions, configurability and options available, pictures, CAD files, price and availability.
Fig 2. An authoring tool.
End-user tool. The RINET central service allows a web enabled client application or a web browser to query the Product Index Server for available products based on product properties.
When the client connects to the index server an Applet is downloaded
to the client side (fig 3.) that handles the functionality of the user-interface.
The client interface is based on the Finish Building 90 classification
system. The client first selects a classification code that best matches
the category of products being search for and retrieves from the index
server a screen form with available properties defined for that classification
code or matching product category.
Fig 3. The client interface
The client then constructs a query by selecting or entering values for the properties that match his design and submits the query back to the index server. If the index server finds any products with matching property values specified in the query they are returned to the client in a list for browsing (fig 4.) when browsing the products returned by the query the user can at the same time view all property values available with the product. This way the user can easily differentiate between products returned by the index server. Further information regarding a product can then be accessed via the URL also returned. The URL will connect the end-user directly to the relevant web page on the manufacturer web-site.
Fig 4. A result of query
Back to the main page