Getting Started - some questions to ask.

What does Project 35 actually do?

Project35 generates a data entry application based on an XML schema that describes the records and fields that would appear in an XML file. You can configure the application in a number of ways:

What is the problem space?

Some of the most important issues we've had to address in IT are expectations that a single software application can do all things for all users all the time. Before you use our software or some other application, please pause and consider your requirements. We feel Project35 is a well designed and well documented application that could help many people. However, you must assess whether the software is appropriate for your problem space. We won't take it personally if you conclude the software isn't appropriate for your use case. Over the years, we have had to tell people that in fact the software wouldn't help them and could not be modified without wrecking the architecture. We feel that it is just as important for developers to know what use cases their software does not support as it is to know which cases it does support.

Do I need to download any other things?

If you just want to get started creating data entry forms and not worry about doing any development work, then you don't need to download anything else. Everything you need comes with the download. Just put the download somewhere it's convenient for you to get to.

If you want to modify the code for your own specific use case or development project, then we recommend you download the following:

Okay, I've downloaded Project 35 - now what?

What you will download is a zipped file. Once you have put this somewhere convenient for you, unzip it. A directory structure will be created and the path you will want to take to get the applications running will be \project35-1.0-win. In this directory there will several files that you can run and a folder with the downloaded documentation. From the path \project35-1.0-win open the folder Project35Docs and click on the file named Project35Main. This is an HTML file and will display as a web page.

The various applications that can be run are MS-DOS Batch Files and all you have to do is to double click on them to bring them up. You will need to use the Configuration Tool before anything else.

I just want the basics for a quick start - what do I use?

The essentials for getting forms up quickly without dealing with any of the options are as follows:

  1. Create your own model folder. You can do this in one of two ways. You can make a copy of the folder .\models\blank_model and change the name "blank_model" to the name of your own model. Alternatively, you can make a copy of the developer tutorial, rename the model folder and remove all the files.
  2. Create an XML Schema that describes the records and fields you would find in an XML document. Familiarise yourself with XML schema through books and other online learning materials. Project35 does not support many of the features in the XML schema language. If you look in .\models\developer_tutorial\model\developer_tutorial.xsd, you will see a complete list of what schema features are supported. Comments are included in the schema to help you understand how to create various form fields. To see more examples of schemas used to generate data entry forms, please go to our Project35 Models page. Carefully follow the download instructions and take a look at the .XSD file that appears in the directory .\models\[some model name]\model\*.xsd.
  3. Ensure your XML schema ends in *.xsd and place it in the directory .\models\[your model name]\model.
  4. Use the Project35 Configuration Tool. In the main directory of your download, double click on run_configuration_tool. Project35 will prompt you to select a model.
  5. Select your data model. The Project35 Configuration Tool should appear.
  6. Create a default configuration file. Click the "File" menu and select "Create Default Configuration File". The Configuration Tool should create a blank configuration file.
  7. Select a "top_level_element". You must specify which record type described in the XML schema represents the top element in your XML files. To do this, right click over the field label "top_level_element". A list of record types should appear. Select a record type from the list. Press the "Keep" button at the bottom of the page.
  8. Give a title to your data entry application. This will the the name that appears in the title bar of your generated application.
  9. Generate a test application. Click the "Options" menu and select the "Test Application" button. The Project35 Configuration Tool should generate a test application. If it doesn't, then fix the errors the application tells you to fix.
  10. Close the test application. Select the "File" menu in the generated application, then press "Exit". The prototype disappears.
  11. Generate Functional Specifications. Click the "Options" menu and select "Generate Functional Specifications..." Fill in the dialog and click on the "OK" button. You should now see the HTML document you named appear in the directory you specified. This document is a human-readable description of what features the data entry tool should support.
  12. Save the Configuration File. You can save your configuration file either as a .PDZ or an .XML file. However, when you want to run your new data entry tool, you will need to save the file as: .\models\[your model name]\config\ConfigurationFile.xml.
  13. Run your application. In the main directory of your download, double click on run_project35.bat. Select your model and watch the application create your new data entry tool. Alternatively, double click on run_project35_work_bench in the same directory and observe that you can launch your model or others using the Project35 work bench.
  14. Add enhancements. Enjoy reading the rest of the user tutorials!

Where does my schema/model go?

Once you have finished making your model, make sure you place it in the .\models directory of your main download directory. The programme uses the files listed in th "models" directory to create the list of models you can use when you start up any of the applications of Project35.

Does it matter how I've made my XML schema?

Yes and No. You can create an XML Schema file ending with .XSD using any kind of text editor you wish. Please be aware that XML Schema is a very expressive language. Project35 understands some features but not all. For more information about what XML Schema expressions are supported, please have a look at .\models\developer_tutorial\model\developer_tutorial.xsd.

Keywords: "Project 35", "open source", XML, "data modelling", "data entry", ontology, Java, "Tablet PC", Garwood.
Copyright © 2008 Christopher Garwood and Kevin Garwood.