Queen City Supply

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This business case scenario, Queen City Supply comes directly from a conversation on the OOoForum. The name has nothing to do with the Forum user, Queen City being the nickname given to my home of Cumberland MD. The user is in internal IT developer for a small distribution company. They already have IS systems for the business, except for the actual route drivers.

The idea is to place laptops in the delivery trucks. The lap top must run a self contained, single user database application. The application should prompt for next delivery stop, allow the driver to generate an order form, generate a report that shows what was delivered off the truck at the end of a run ( the driver can use this to re-stock their truck ), the information from the laptop database must be transfered to the IS systems for invoicing, billing purposes. In point of fact the users first idea was to simply have the drivers laptop generate an invoice form and save an image of it to the hard disk as a pdf file.

The laptop would be docked at the end of the day onto the physical company network and the pdf files copied to the network server. The billing people print two copies, one is mailed to the customer and the other is placed in the files. The companies current systems are updated manually be these same staffers.

In my 'virtual' company I would make a change to the networking. I would place a WiFi router at the company site, and WiFi cards in the laptop. This way the laptop is 'docked' simply by driving back into the loading yard. For the scenario we will address a very minimal second database to act as the companies current IS systems. The example database would be constructed to work with or without this simulator being available.

This scenario I think is a natural for Base - the single user nature of the embedded database is not a problem, the functions required by the driver are small in nature and easily defined. Most of this functionality can be delivered without the use of scripting, and then it should be farily small snippets of code for any one screen. In this respect this Driver side database should be a good example for the very small company staffer.

QCS Delivery Truck Implementaton

The secondary or add-on part would be the functions required to pass data between the drivers laptop and the simulated IS systems. Since we are building the simulation database we should be able to implement a reasonable work flow.

Frank - this is one of those spots I mentioned in the email...

I have a reasonably complete idea of how I would like to exchange the data using an XML format. I believe I can handle the coding on the Drivers laptop side, but not sure I really understand what would be required - or if I am thinking properly - on the simulator side. Here also, the database would be an almost duplicate of the drivers database so the additional development is minimal. The added work is in the communications functions. At the moment I have sketched a few ideas for this data flow and will be done with a first pass document that I would need you or someone similar to review tonight. I shall post the document here Queen City Data Exchange I know I would need help with the details and some of the coding.

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