MasterClass "A Day With Bob Swart"
by Bob Swart (aka Dr.Bob -

The UK-BUG MasterClass "A Day With Bob Swart" on May 27th was focused on a real-world "knowledge based" Delphi 3 application, hosted on the internet, called WebDOC (which stands for Web Developers Oriented Consult).
The purpose of WebDOC is to advise developers which (internet) techniques they can apply for internet/intranet development, depending on certain conditions, criteria and factors involved. For example, for intranet development where maybe everyone would use Internet Explorer as web browser, then Java or ActiveX will be the (Client Side) techniques that would be suggested, while ActiveX would not be advised in a less controlled internet environment. As another example, when a Windows NT Web Server is available, and the target is just about every potential client (web browser) on the internet, then we should suggest a Web Server Side solution (CGI/ISAPI, etc.) using Delphi 3 C/S Web Modules (which would be an invalid suggestion when dealing with a Unix Web Server).
The "knowledge based" application WebDOC itself would use a simple rule-based engine and scoring mechanism to handle the suggestions and input questions/criteria. WebDOC consists of two parts: a Knowledge Editor, where new internet techniques (suggestions) and questions of conditions/criteria/factors can be maintained, and an Advisor that people can use to answer a number of questions to get a useful advise about which internet techniques they should use (and why). The WebDOC knowledge editor is a simple Win32 Delphi database application, based upon a set of tables. The WebDOC advisor should be made available to a large number of people, for example by using the company's intranet or the entire internet. To implement both versions of the advisor, we need to actually apply both intranet development techniques (creating an ActiveForm solution) and some internet development techniques as well (based on a Windows NT Web Server, but with or without the BDE installed).
The final example applications (both the ActiveForm and the Web Modules version) will be placed on my website as WebDOC (Web Developers Oriented Consult) after the masterclass.
Keywords: Delphi 3, Database, Inter/Intranet, ActiveForms, CGI/ISAPI, Web Modules, Knowledge Based Systems.

10.00 Introduction
This section starts with an introduction to Knowledge Based Systems, and the "internet/intranet development" domain we're trying to implement in our example of today. We'll see that a knowledge based system can consist of two parts: the Knowledge Editor (for domain experts) and the "Run" system - the example application that can use the domain knowledge to advise the end-users, and - an important feature of Knowledge Based system - to explain the given advise as well.
We'll build a simple Knowledge Editor, and show how we can generate ObjectPascal source code from this, to be used later by the "Run".

11.30 - 11.45 Tea/Coffee and Biscuits
Now that the Knowledge Editor can be used to input "internet/intranet development" domain knowledge, it's time to write a first version of the "Run" for the intranet, using ActiveForms. The first version will be without the use of any data-based or data-aware components, using the generated ObjectPascal source code from the Knowledge Editor.
The second version will use a TClientDataSet and remote Knowledge Base, so we can update the knowledge rules in the Knowledge Editor without having to recompile the "Run" itself.

13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
After lunch, we'll examine a way to make the "Run" available on the internet, using "server side" techniques on a Windows NT Web Server, starting with the development of a "plain" CGI front-end. Since HTML is a state-less protocol, we'll quickly learn that we need some kind of state management for the Knowledge Base itself.
The first version of the CGI-edition of the "Run" is again based on the source code generated from the Knowledge Editor, while we'll use the Borland Database Engine (to be installed on the Web Server as well) for the second version. After that, we'll see what benefits can be obtained by transforming the CGI application into an ISAPI web server extension DLL.

16.00 - 16.15 Tea/Coffee and Biscuits
After tea, we'll redo the previous section, but this time using Web Modules and based on prior CGI/ISAPI experiences.
The last half hour is used to implement some "live" suggestions and extra enhancements to the Knowledge Editor or any version of the "Run" system (both for the intranet and the internet).

17.45 Q&A

The Masterclass will be held on Wednesday May 27th from 10.00 a.m. until 6.00 p.m. at POSK in Hammersmith.
Price UK 100 pound sterling + VAT to members, UK 200 pound sterling + VAT to non-members, lunch included.
all places must be booked and paid for in advance

For more information, contact Joanna Pooley by phone 01980 630032, fax 01980 630602 or e-mail.

This webpage © 2000-2015 by Bob Swart (aka Dr.Bob - All Rights Reserved.