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Paper w78-2000-1089:
A survey of internet-oriented technologies for document-driven applications in construction open dynamic virtual environments

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Zarli A, Rezgui Y

A survey of internet-oriented technologies for document-driven applications in construction open dynamic virtual environments

Abstract:"Various technologies ranging from standards for data exchange and product / process modeling, to integration through the use of object-oriented technologies, have been experimented and used in order to highlight the benefits of information and communication technologies in the construction domain. In particular, this last decade has seen a tremendous activity in new specifications and developments of standards and architectures for enterprise application integration. Indeed, integration and seamless communication between software applications (proprietary and commercial) are increasingly becoming fundamental issues tackled by a variety of emerging technologies. However, all these latest IT developments didn’t have the expected impact on the construction industry. This is due to several factors, including poor investment in construction IT by SMEs, and mismatch between IT innovations and Construction industry needs. In fact, behind the global issue of application integration within the (real or virtual) enterprise, appear a lot of architectural problems (along with the “right” selection of tools, toolboxes and infrastructures) that take a critical dimension in the case of open systems and standard issues. The building sector is essentially characterised by its fragmentation, with a high proportion of SMEs involved in the design and build process of Construction projects: this means, from a macroscopic point of view, that designed infrastructures must be adequate to support Extranets and Virtual enterprises. Consequently, the problematic is not only to ensure internal communication between systems as in a single, even large, company, but to provide the required capacity to exchange information and collaborate outside the boundaries of the information systems constituting the IT infrastructure of a company, including means to organise the flow of information and the co-ordination of tasks. To address the issues of communication and interoperability, several routes have been explored and are still under development: after an initial phase related to bulk exchange of documents, middleware has become the focus, with investigations around CORBA or DCOM (for middleware-oriented application integration), and MOM (for the routing and formatting “on-the-fly” of messages). More recently, new architectures have been suggested, especially the now well-known 3-Tier based architecture and application servers (Client desktop – middle-tier Web or application server – DBMS/persistent storage). Eventually, technologies dedicated to the Web has risen, particularly the XML technology, and Java-oriented technologies like JSP and servlets. Driven by the identification of intra- and inter-company business processes and information / process requirements of the Construction domain, and also on case studies and experiments conducted in previous European projects, including VEGA, GENIAL and CONDOR, this paper proposes a survey and first evaluation of open Internet-oriented technology and standards for use in open dynamic virtual environments, and analyses the potential usefulness of some current technologies, specifically MOM, CORBA, XML, and application servers (for the handling of business objects). The paper also highlights the benefits of using XML, as a technology for flexible and dynamic representation of complex objects (including documents) and their stream-based interchange, along with distributed object frameworks such as CORBA for remote access to data. Finally, the paper concentrates on the need related to the design of an infrastructure for application integration and tasks collaboration, and elaborates on how recent IT fit into architectures required for the specific needs and peculiarities of the construction industry. 1. Message Oriented Middleware. 2. Java Server Pages. 3. This work is realised in the scope of the OSMOS European project: Open System for inter-enterprise information Management in dynamic virtual envirOnmentS, IST-1999-10491 project."

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Full text:content.pdf (308,492 bytes) (available to registered users only)

Series:w78:2000 (browse)
Cluster:papers of the same cluster (result of machine made clusters)
Class:class.software-software (0.082384) class.communication (0.039950) class.collaboration (0.028661)
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated

 

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