Parameter Driven

To maximise ease of use it is important that all like functions in a system operate in the same way.  For instance, it is frustrating for users if “All OK” is different on some data entry screens from others.  Traditionally, this has required rigorous standards and discipline by developers, who sometimes have their own ideas about what they think is best, and sneak it through, perhaps believing they are improving the user experience.

The more lines of code there are, the greater the possibility (and existence) of errors.  Each line of code is a potential bug.

Beacon uses the UniVerse language, under which data is described in data dictionaries.

All this lead to Walstan’s development of parameter-driven method for:

  • data entry
  • queries
  • reports
  • printed forms
  • searches

There is one data entry process, used by more than 160 data entry functions.

There is one query process, used by more than 450 data queries.

There is one report process, used to produce more than 600 reports.

The single form process is used for around 15 forms.

The single search process directs search for over 280 data items.

As these items all use Universe dictionaries (with some extensions), and other parameters depending on the process, there is little programming required.

Developers like it, as it is very fast and easy to develop and change these items, concentrating on data presentation, rather than the mechanics behind it.

Users like it, because once you know how to use one, you can use them all.

Implementers and trainers like it, as it is easier to teach new users.