ITcon Vol. 13, pg. 507-518, http://www.itcon.org/2008/30

An XML based standard to enable bulk project data transfer between heterogeneous systems

submitted:January 2008
revised:September 2008
published:October 2008
editor(s):Brewin JC
authors:Scott Moses, Research Engineer
Centre for Innovative Construction Engineering, Loughborough University
email: scott.moses@causeway.com

Tarek M Hassan, Senior Lecturer and Director of the European Union Research Group
Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
email: T.Hassan@Lboro.ac.uk

Ashraf El-Hamalawi, Senior Lecturer
Department of Civil and Building Engineering, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
email: A.El-hamalawi@Lboro.ac.uk

Tim Cole, Director
Causeway Technologies, Bourne End, United Kingdom
email: Tim.Cole@Causeway.com
summary:The objective of the work reported in this paper was the development of an XML based standard which would enable project data, such as contacts, drawings, documentation, instructions and emails, to be transferred between collaborative systems provided by different software vendors and used by construction organisations. The primary aim being to create a transfer mechanism which would allow project data transfer without modification of existing collaborative system deployed by vendors. This paper discusses the business and technological needs for such a transfer capability between collaborative systems, by examining the current use of these tools and related problems encountered by clients. It sets out the main components that underlie the majority of construction specific collaborative systems which forms the basis of the generic collaborative system model which has been developed, contrasting this with previous data exchange efforts. This paper shows how the XML Schema was developed and the procedures undertaken to ensure that it could be utilised by the maximum possible set of vendors. It sets out the best practice procedure for implementations by vendor organisations and the required testing to confirm a successful transfer. The paper also highlights some of the practical problems that were encountered when transferring projects between heterogeneous systems during the project and in subsequent deployments of the solution. Finally, the paper concludes with methods of taking the work forward as a foundation to allow for greater interoperability between systems in the future.
keywords:Data Exchange, XML Schema, Construction, Project Collaboration, Enterprise Content Management, Collaborative Software, NCCTP
full text: (PDF file, 0.432 MB)
citation:Moses S, Hassan TM, El-Hamalawi A, Cole T (2008). An XML based standard to enable bulk project data transfer between heterogeneous systems, ITcon Vol. 13, pg. 507-518, http://www.itcon.org/2008/30