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DOT V3 Features
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General Features and Information

Operating Environment

The minimum DOT (Data On-Tap) Environment is a Virtual Memory, Windows, and Character Cell Terminal based environment. It assumes the user is running on a modern ANSI Terminal or PC with support for 132 Column Terminal mode, Basic Video Graphics, and a keyboard with function keys and dedicated arrow keys. A native mode GUI (Graphical User Interface) version is also available for Windows 9X/NT/XP based Systems.

The DOT Environment is highly portable and runs under virtually all implementations of DOS, DOS Networks, UNIX, and Windows 9X/NT/XP in addition to certain proprietary operating systems such as Digital Equipment Corporation's OpenVMS. A variety of data storage methods are supported including several Multi-Key ISAMs (Digital's RMS, Informix's C-ISAM, Synergex's ISAM, etc.) and several relational Database Engines (Oracle, Sybase, SQL Server, etc.). In addition to its own Report/Data Generator, a variety of sophisticated third party tools exist to provide direct access to the User Data.

Audit Control

Two basic types of audit controls are supported by the DOT Environment. The first, Transaction Audit Controls, produces a series of reports allowing the user to track transaction activity back to the original source document. For General Ledger data, this series of reports includes the original Source Journal, the End-of-Day Report, and the General Ledger Audit Report by Source. This detail may be summarized before is is posted to the General Ledger by optionally setting the summarization flag for any or all individual accounts.

Another type of audit control supported by the DOT Environment shows the history of Maintenance Changes. This option is activated/deactivated by the system manager for selected data tables. While activated, all Maintenance Changes to the selected data table are logged including who made the change, when the change was made, and what specific data items were changed. Each log entry contains both the new and old values for the data items changed.

"Batch" Control

Concurrent transaction entry by multiple operators within the same function is a major problem for most Application Software Packages. The DOT Environment deals with this problem by allowing the operator to specify the group or "batch" of transactions with which they wish to work. If they specify a common or shared "batch", their entries are combined with entries made by other operators. If they select a unique "batch", they have complete control over the editing and posting of their transactions.  These "batch" features are available whether the Update Mode is On-Line or Batch.

Client/Server Processing

All programs are written to conform to the Client/Server Processing model. The portions of all programs requiring data entry from an operator are Interactive Processes and are Client Processes by definition. The remaining programs, not requiring data entry, are Non-Interactive Processes and are referred to as Server Processes. All Server Processes are configurable and are normally run independent from the Client Processes. Reports, posts, sorts, and end-of-period updates are all examples of programs run as Server Processes. To the operator, this means never waiting at their terminal with nothing to do while the system displays the infamous "Processing Occurring - Please Wait ..." message. As an added feature, all Server Processes can also be scheduled to begin at any Client specified future time. The ability to fully utilize Server Processes is implemented at the user level and does not require direct access to the operating system or intervention by the system manager.

Common or "DO" Functions

One of the major benefits of the DOT Environment is Operator productivity. A Common Functions Menu is provided and is accessed with the press of a single key from any entry field within any program. When the operator finishes using the Common Function, control is automatically returned to the originating program and entry field. The Common Functions Menu normally contains virtually all Maintenance and Inquiry functions and is configured to the individual Client's needs.

Data Help (Look-up)

DOT Data Look-up functions are called Data Help to bring attention to the way this is implemented within the DOT Environment. Data Help works like a safety net under the operator and is automatically invoked whenever an operator enters an invalid data value. The Look-up Function automatically displays the closest key values and allows the operator to scroll through these values, select the correct value, and have the selected data automatically replace the invalid entry. All Look-up Data values are user maintained.

Date Filters

Multiple User Defined Date Filters may be maintained to help eliminate problems with the entry of Dates.  Even without the use of Date Filters it is not possible to enter an invalid date (ie. 2/30/97). Date Filters are designed to eliminate wrong Month and Year problems.  Each Date Entry field may be tied to a specific Date Filter and each Date Filter is tied to the current period of a specific Calendar.  Each Date Filter contains variables use to compute the valid range of dates and determine what action to take if an invalid date is entered.

Flexibility

Within the DOT Environment, all Data, Video Display, and Report Attributes are Table Driven.  All Attributes are changed using the Computer Aided Software Engineering (CASE) Tools provided by the DOT Designer Tool Kit. With the Tool Kit, the user also controls processing options such as On-Line or Batch Transaction Update Mode and which data tables require the logging of Maintenance Changes.  With few exceptions, most changes can be implemented without recompiling or re-linking the Executable Programs.

Menu System

The Menu System enables the user to move from one program function to another. The DOT Environment allows the user to select a new function by Menu Item Number, Arrow Key Selection, Program Name, or User-Defined Hot Key. All four (4) options are available to all users at all times.

Multi-User Features

In addition to providing "Batch" Control capabilities (see above), the DOT Environment virtually eliminates the Multi-User conflicts present in most systems. A data table or file is never "locked" and record "locking" is kept to the absolute minimum through sophisticated programming techniques. As an example, a user who is in the process of updating an Inventory Item through Item Maintenance and leaves their terminal in this mode for hours in no way impacts the other users' access to that Inventory Item.

Security

The system manager controls each user's access to individual program functions by maintaining separate Security Levels for Add, Change, Delete, and Inquire modes of operation.  In addition, the system manager may set different Security Levels for Change and Inquire access to specific data attributes (fields) for even tighter control.

Simplicity of Use

Anyone can be trained to use even the most sophisticated features of the DOT Environment. Only six (6) Function Keys, excluding the Arrow Keys and User Defined Hot Keys, control all user entry options. This advantage coupled with a "what-you-see-is-what-you-get" (WYSIWYG) approach to data entry results in greatly reduced training time.

Text Help

All Application Documentation is accessed on an On-Line basis by pressing the Help Key from any entry field within the DOT Environment.  Multiple screens of text are available ranging from general information about the use of Special Functions Keys to specific information about the data attribute (field). All Help Text is user maintainable.  All Help Text displayed relates in some way to the current program, data table, or data attribute.

Update Mode

Each Transaction Entry Function includes support for both On-Line and Batch Update Modes.  The system manager selects the Update Mode for each Transaction Entry Function and any combination of On-Line and Batch Modes is permitted.

In On-Line Mode, all Transactions are posted as entered. If an entry mistake is made and the transaction "batch" is still open, the operator may recall the transaction and make whatever changes are necessary. The original entry is automatically reversed and the corrected entry posted. When the transaction "batch" is closed, the transaction journal is printed and the transaction entry data is deleted.

With Batch Mode, all processing occurs when the "batch" is closed. With the closing of the "batch", all transactions are posted, the transaction journal is printed, and the transaction entry data is deleted.

Copyright 2002 H.O.A.M. Services Corporation All rights reserved.

 

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