Tim O'Reilly found an old piece (2002) that he never actually posted and did so now: about the Internet operating system. I like to think that it will have an open architecture similar to that of both Unix/Linux and the Internet.
In unix/linux, simple programs could be connected in a pipeline, like legos or tinker toys, to accomplish more complex tasks.
This same principle is evident in the development of the Internet. Open standards tell you what you need to write and what you need to read in order to be able to cooperate with another program. What you do internally is up to you.
THAT's what is in the back of my head when thinking about information exchange in the building industry. Do your coupling in a loose fashion. Little pieces. I've had enough of all those pictures in powerpoint presentations showing the One Central Database Or Application that would solve all communication problems in a building project. Yes, if we could get everyone to agree to use one system from one vendor. Yes, if we could store all needed information in that single system. Yes, if every participant would only participate in projects using this one system and not that of the other vendor, meaning that they would need a new set of software for every project and....
That's just three "if"s. Chances are (just an estimate) 10%, 10% and 10% respectively. That's a total chance of 0.1% to pull this off.
Let's start with getting the individual acts together. Make the info in the drawing system available over the Internet in some documented format. Likewise for the specification system. Likewise for the accounting system. Likewise... Put behind passwords what should be kept within the project.
This way, you don't need to have every act together at the same time in the same One Big Database. Just have the building specification on-line so that the planning boys can grap bits and pieces out of it.
Come on. If it's available, how long do you think it would take for some smart person to build a quick program that pulls some info from the specification, combines it with some company-internal recipe-like document and prints it out, ready for the people on the workfloor to do their job?
Add to that what you get when you can get your hands on the drawing in the same way :-)
John Udell calls it the spontaneous integration.
My name is Reinout van Rees and I work a lot with Python (programming language) and Django (website framework). I live in The Netherlands and I'm happily married to Annie van Rees-Kooiman.
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