A common problem in research institutions is matching up the research work
with those that benefit from the results. In this particular case, the US Air
Force had identified deficiencies in a wide range of field conditions. It
employed researchers in a number of laboratories to develop solutions. Many of
these projects took years to complete.
Prior efforts at reconciling the work in progress with user needs complicated life
for the researchers since several management groups were requesting nearly
identical data. The most reasonable central collection point was an existing
application that tracked research milestones, budgets, and expenditures. This
database was implemented in Oracle. The presentation layer of the existing system
was Forms 3.0, which was character based and widely disliked.
This system was extended to collect additional information, using Visual Basic 3.0
as the front end. A number of user communities (researchers, managers, 'brokers',
and clients) had versions of the program that supported their particular needs.
The overall organization of the system controlled access to the appropriate areas.
The Oracle system maintained a unified body of scheduling, accounting, and
performance data. The 'consumers' for this specific application were TPIPTs
(Technical Planning Integrated Product Teams) who used this information to
produce a Mission Support Development Plan. This Plan was used as a foundation
for more precisely managing research resources in future years.
The Visual Basic application generated a Microsoft Access database from
scratch, querying the appropriate Oracle tables and creating representative
subsets within the .MDB. This .MDB database was used to produce various
reports, including ultimately the MSDP.
At that time, one of us was working with Computer Science Corporation (CSC) as an
employee on the project. Resource Logic, Inc. as a business is not and was not
a contractor or subcontractor to the US Air Force.