Ministry of Ag Fish & Food

Feb 2

Minutes of the meeting are not yet available but will be produced on request when they are. As normal, brief reports were made from those currently implementing IDMS projects - which now includes BBC, Plessey, HSA, Water Data Unit, ERCC and the MOD in various guises. No one had anything but praise for the IDMS code, nor much to grumble about except the eccentricities of System B. Other interested parties present included representatives of the GPO, UKAEA, Mardon Son & Hall, Anglian Water Authority, Short Bros and. the Hong Kong Government. The main business of the day was (a) a presentation, by one D.A. "Nobby" Clarke of ICL on the newly released Data Dictionary System and (b) proposals to re-organise the group - now an unwieldy 30+ in size. a) . The Data Dictionary System is a newly released, large (120+ Kb mainstore) expensive (no figures available yet) largely undocumented (but TP 6426 is due in June) piece of software that no system offering database facilities can afford to do without. Such was my impression. It is essentially a database in containing information about all aspects (data structure, physical placement, processes used etc etd) of another database or databases, which can therefore be continuously updated, and in which modifications to database design can be exhaustively tested without corrupting the status quo. As a design tool (and especially when starting a databse from scratch) there is little doubt that the DOS methodology cannot as yet be improved upon. One can of course use that methodology without using the associated software! "Nobby" 's presentation demonstrated this quite effectively by showing the simplicity of translation from an 'entity model' to DOS input, though he was less forthcoming about output from the package. He particularly stressed how the use of an 'entity .model1 would draw attention to otherwise obfuscated contradictions inherent in the structure of data. The DOS was machine and application independent , and grand things were promised of it in the future. In particular, the next release (DDS200 - in 3V 23J will be able to generate IDMS Schema DDL or FML file DDL directly from the 'entity model' . CRISP (the Navy Stores & Transport Inventory Project) have been evaluating the DDS by carrying out field trials for ICL, and they have also produced a comprehensive report on the package. To quote their conclusions “The application of the DDS is relevant to all ADP projects and the authors recommend that all 2900 series users adopt it at the earliest opportunity" and "The DDS is still in its infancy with regard to its potential usefulness to the user" . I have a copy of this report. b) The IDMS user group formally agreed to split into several smaller working parties dealing with distinct areas where it was felt enhancements were necessary, to discuss and make recommendations to ICL on those enhancements, and to report back to the main group, which would meet at less frequent intervals to discuss the subgroups' recommendations. First meetings for the subgroups would be held- in the next month, and will report to the next general group meeting in two months time. I propose to attend a subgroup dealing with query language and report generator.