JLOFT: An Eiffel project from the ground up
From time to time, I will do my best to keep this blog and it associated community up-to-speed on the development of the Jinny Logistical Order Fulfillment Technologies (JLOFT) project. The JLOFT system has been conceived as an end-to-end general business application. The application is being designed to manage a specific wholesale order fulfillment system (e.g. sales of wholesale merchandise to commercial resellers, where a wholesaler stands between any number of vendors and any number of client customers, who (in turn) resell the merchandise to the consumer market).
The project officially began in October of this year (2010). We contracted with the good folks at ISE in Goleta, CA to provide the necessary engineering staff to jump-start and guide the project. Emmanuel ("Manu") Stapf has been assisting us as the Chief Architect for the project and is joined by Dr. Bertrand Meyer as the need arises. In the weeks following the start of the project, Manu and Bertrand have helped to shape the overall structure of the business tier classes, which form the basis of the system. The resulting newly formed clusters and libraries have taken on a life of their own (as expected), even though the vast majority of them are presently deferred.
One of the classes added to the library being immediately implemented (effected) has been a new MIXED_NUMBER class (of Manu's design and implementation). This class understands the notion of a Mixed Number as in "5 7/8". The class came about due to needs in the JLOFT system to model fractional inventory values. Essentially, when packages or other collections of products are broken up, the resulting resalable items are now no longer in a form of "1 package of 36 items", but are now "12 of 36 items." The JLOFT system needs to remain capable of selling the 12 items of a package of 36 and having this notion reflected in the inventory. It is from this business need that the MIXED_NUMBER class was born.
I will write more about the experiences of creating the JLOFT system for the community to read and glean from. Mostly, the purpose of creating and maintaining this blog is to encourage Eiffel developers in the community to know new work is present and in-progress. Moreover, the nature of this work is generating a system of classes in the general business market. While the resulting libraries will not be available to the general public in the near term, they may ultimately participate in systems beyond the original business scope. Time and opportunity will tell where this code becomes available, useful and otherwise applied.