Image Software for Manufacturing System
This project was initiated in 1996 to replace a paper system that used Polaroid photos and paper descriptions to document the various steps (techniques) and phases (applications) of casting of aluminum parts. The initial project was written in C using Borland C++ IDE. The main applications were rewritten in C++ using Borland C++ Builder making extensive use of the VCL framework.
The images are stored in a proprietary format that allows the addition of annotations to a standard JPEG or Bitmap image. The original version simply tacked the extra information onto the end of the image file. However, it became inflexible when new annotation styles were needed so the format was modified to be very similar to XML except that the binary data for the image is written directly into the file rather than encoded.
The image files and other information for the techniques is collected and annotated by an authorized user who then submits the technique to the Business System (which is running on a UNIX server). A process owner will then review the technique and then approve it through the business system. The business system will then make the technique available either through the image files, html pages on the intranet or both.
Once submitted, the actual images are only available on the server via a proprietary server. This allows only the specialized applications to access the files as they are not available to users through network drives or any other means. This allows the access to the images to be controlled.
The project included the following programs:
|Submit||Creation and submission of technique including images, annotations and text. Originally written in C, rewritten in C++.|
|Viewer||Used to view the technique images read-only. Authorized users can view older revisions of a technique. Links to the intranet version of the technique for those applications that have one.|
|Copy||Select images from existing technique directories and possibly local drives to copy for new production. Can also create zip archive of all images for a given technique. Users need to be authorized for specific applications.|
|Administration||This program is used to provide a graphical interface to the configuration files.|
|Other||There are a couple of server applications on the UNIX. One is the proprietary file server and another is a proprietary authorization server. The application also includes several shell and perl scripts.|
Trucking Industry Software
I have begun working on a software solution that will be used in the truck and bus industry. I am currently writing in Visual C++ 2005 Express. Eventually I will need to upgrade to Visual Studio to target tablet PC's and smart phones.
©William Charles Nickerson (2006)