CM391 - Final Report

Name: Theo Gray [email protected]


Flavio Bergamaschi [email protected]

Second Supervisor:

Stephen O'Connell [email protected]

Project Title:

Abstract Database Viewer: An API for Automatic Database Information Retrieval Through the Internet


Databases are an integral part of many businesses around the world. Through the Internet or an Intranet, it is possible for these databases to be made accessible to whomever the company wishes. The problem is that interested parties wish to view the data, without the need for installation of extra software every time they want to access a different database.

There are various solutions to this, but in general, they all suffer from similar drawbacks, including problems of navigation, security and viewing of complex data structures.

Another problem, separate from the functionality of the solution, is that the data is to be accessed through the Internet, or an Intranet. Thus, it needs to be useable on many different machine architectures and operating systems, working in a similar way in all cases.

Written in JavaTM, to be platform independent, the Abstract Database Viewer (ADBV) has been developed as a solution to these problems. It presents an API, which allows database administrators to link the meta-data that is contained in all commercial databases to separate viewer applications. This allows any data structures contained in the database, simple or complex, to be accessed through a standard interface by any user.

The following document describes the processes that were involved in analysing, designing, implementing and testing the ADBV solution, and the future development that could enhance the current system.


Flavio Bergamaschi came up with the original idea of including template information with a database. His support throughout the project, with information, ideas, and moral has been invaluable throughout this work.

IBM supplied the development environment and database package. JMD Systems upgraded the hardware of the development system to one that has performed well over the past few months.

Steve Stearns, Paul Copeland, Steve OíConnell and Alistair Dunlop were of help with information relating to DB2 BLOB fields when it seemed that there was just no solution to the problem.

A quick, but worthy note of thanks to Mark Papiani, who remembered a small bit of information which saved a search through all of the DB2 documentation.

Thanks also to the University of Southamptonís Department of Electronics and Computer Science who saved a lot of Internet download time.

Finally, thanks to Leslie Wilmart-Angelo who has helped with ideas, and Simon Kampa who has helped in the testing of the package.

Theo Gray: contact me