[thelist] Designing a Centralized System to Handle DecentralizedData

Luther, Ron Ron.Luther at hp.com
Mon Apr 23 08:54:58 CDT 2007

Randal Rust asked for ideas:

>>Right now, all of the providers submit their attendance records by
>>They physically mark the attendance for each child and then mail it
>>Then the agency manually enters it into the application to process


>>What we'd like to do is create a centralized system that allows the
providers to enter their attendance.

Hi Randal,

How about a 'push' design as an alternative thought?  

You could set up a simple secure FTP site and design an EDI format for 
receiving your attendance data.  You make that a requirement and let 
the agencies write their own apps to output the data in that format.

Maybe some agents can send records real-time, some by scheduled batch, 
some by irregular (manually scheduled) batch or a mixture by agency 
size or ability.

(You can write a number of 'quality control' checks/reports on your 
centralized end. You can build check-sums/record counts into a 'header 
record' in your format design.  You can send a receipt acknowledgement 
signal back to the agencies.  There is a lot of flexibility here.  
I think this is a more generalized problem that EDI has evolved for.)

Anyway, IMO, it's a pretty common model in industry for companies 
gathering info [1] from suppliers/partners that might fit your 

[1] Data like inventory levels, order status, delivery status from 
the freight carriers, new orders, forecasts.  It's pretty widely used.

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