Pierre is a tool that allows for the generic autogeneration of browsing and searching services. Designed and implemented by the University of Manchester, this product is a follow on from the successful Pedro project. As with Pedro, Pierre is entirely Java based. Although we would certainly encourage you to use Pedro for your data modelling AND data capture, Pierre has been designed to take most XML schemas and generate a service with it, even if that schema has not been created with Pedro. In the first release, Pierre has only been tested on Windows.
Pierre has several components to them, each intended for different kinds of users. Users of Pierre fall into three categories: service designers, repository designers and end users. In practice, these may be the same person but it is likely that in the majority of cases they will not be. Service designers will use the configuration tool which is the core of Pierre; it is from this that the various service aspects are autogenerated. These services consist of interfaces for browsing and searching over data repositories (databases). These interfaces consist of a web interface, a standalone application, a text menu based apllication, and a command line service. The api for Pierre can also be used for imbedding Pierre's capabilities within existing frameworks. Repository designers deal with hooking up back end technologies to Pierre services. End users use the services deployed by Pierre.
Services generated by Pierre allow end users to browse over data in a data repository and to perform simple, advanced, and expert searches. It is important to realize that not all the services will have all the same functionality - this is due primarily to the nature of the technology used and the generic design of the software. Browsing allows end users to get summary information about the data sets in the data repository. Searching can exist in three forms: simple, advanced, and expert. Simple searching involves the end users using preset, or canned, queries. These will typically have been designed by a domain expert and should reflect common queries that may be made routinely. Advanced search allows end users to construct their own queries from a selection of given fields that are taken from the model in question. Expert search allows the end user to use a query language (eg XQuery,SQL) suitable to the database (eg eXist, MySQL) being used and make queries directly.
This is primarily a manual for developers wishing to enhance Pierre to their own needs or to embed Pierre in an existing service.
The configuration tool is the core of Pierre as it is from here that all service interfaces are generated. The tutorial is broken down into sections each corresponding to a panel on the tool. It is expected that service configurers will be familiar with computer concepts, such as field, gui, class, etc. but not necessarily be programmers themselves. The section dealing with databases, security, and plugins will require some knowledge of classes and implementing methods.
Command Line Tutorial:
The Command Line service is intended for those end users who are familiar with a UNIX environment or who do not have access to the web. As the name implies, browsing and searching are done by typing commands. The tutorial is broken down into browse, simple search, and advanced search sections. Please note that expert search is not supported by this service.
Text Menu Tutorial:
The Text Menu service is intended for end users who do not need or want a gui or who do not have access to the web. The tutorial is broken down into browse, simple search, and expert search sections. Please note that advanced search is not supported by this service.
Standalone Application Tutorial:
The standalone application supports browsing and all types of searching. End users do not need access to the web for this service. The tutorial is broken down into browse, simple search, advanced search and expert search sections.
The Web deployment allows users to browse and search the data repository online. The tutorial is broken down into browse, simple search, and expert search sections. Please note that advanced search is not supported by this service.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us at the following: firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the time of this current release there are three known bugs that we are still analysing and trying to fix. If you have any suggestions for ways to go about fixing these, please let us know.
1. On the web page deployment: banner images seem to show up when viewed locally but not remotely.
2. On the web page deployment: downloadable files, if they exist for a given case, are opened in a web browser rather than saved to file.
3. On the web page deployment: advanced searching does not seem to recognize partial strings instead of the whole.