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A Facilitated Interface to Generate a Combined Textual and Graphical Database System Using Widely Available Software

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DOI: 10.4236/jsea.2012.510091    4,189 Downloads   5,694 Views  

ABSTRACT

Data-Base Management System (DBMS) is the current standard for storing information. A DBMS organizes and maintains a structure of storage of data. Databases make it possible to store vast amounts of randomly created information and then retrieve items using associative reasoning in search routines. However, design of databases is cumbersome. If one is to use a database primarily to directly input information, each field must be predefined manually, and the fields must be organized to permit coherent data input. This static requirement is problematic and requires that database table(s) be predefined and customized at the outset, a difficult proposition since current DBMS lack a user friendly front end to allow flexible design of the input model. Furthermore, databases are primarily text based, making it difficult to process graphical data. We have developed a general and nonproprietary approach to the problem of input modeling designed to make use of the known informational architecture to map data to a database and then retrieve the original document in freely editable form. We create form templates using ordinary word processing software: Microsoft InfoPath 2007. Each field in the form is given a unique name identifier in order to be distinguished in the database. It is possible to export text based documents created initially in Microsoft Word by placing a colon at the beginning of any desired field location. InfoPath then captures the preceding string and uses it as the label for the field. Each form can be structured in a way to include any combination of both textual and graphical fields. We input data into InfoPath templates. We then submit the data through a web service to populate fields in an SQL database. By appropriate indexing, we can then recall the entire document from the SQL database for editing, with corresponding audit trail. Graphical data is handled no differently than textual data and is embedded in the database itself permitting direct query approaches. This technique makes it possible for general users to benefit from a combined text-graphical database environment with a flexible non-proprietary interface. Consequently, any template can be effortlessly transformed to a database system and easily recovered in a narrative form.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

C. Lawson, K. Larson, J. Van Erdewyk, C. Smith, A. Rizzo, L. Ross and M. Rendell, "A Facilitated Interface to Generate a Combined Textual and Graphical Database System Using Widely Available Software," Journal of Software Engineering and Applications, Vol. 5 No. 10, 2012, pp. 789-796. doi: 10.4236/jsea.2012.510091.

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