With “Flowcharts bridging worlds” we want to show you a new way to program custom applications. On one hand enabling end users to create their own applications using the World Bank or other data sets as sources, to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals. On the other hand to create and use custom applications as tools for work, effectively contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
Custom applications are programmed by composing flowcharts, which are compiled and deployed as software features on the online service platform. Custom software can be used as tools supporting work in the area of business, government and schools. The three biggest challenges faced by ICT to be used as an effective tool in our work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals are:
- Cost of programming - usually done be a small group of people, called developers.
- Difficulty of copying a custom application and adapting just a few software features.
- The ease of deployment and delivery.
ad 1. Flowchart based visual programming enables a much larger group of professionals besides software developers to translate domain Know How directly into a set of custom software features. Flowcharts provide a much easier approach to programming than coding. ad 2. The flowchart based software features can be copied much easier than coded software features between different custom application instances, reducing cost of reproduction. ad 3. The fact that the custom application can be created by multiple users concurrent and is delivered as a service, which can be used over the existing Internet infrastructure, reduces the overall cost.
Governmental entities, and work done toward each of the eight Millennium Development Goals, benefit from custom applications that cost less and are more flexible.
A custom application supporting citizens and governmental employees in changing citizen registration highly automated for example, is still not available in many countries. Notification of people to take their medicines, a service that could be provided by an NGO, are just some of the examples that benefit from highly customized application at significantly reduced cost.
Our “Flowcharts bridging worlds” application charts the infant mortality provided by UNICEF and the world development indicators supplied by the World Bank. Reducing infant mortality is the fourth Millennium Development Goal.
Without further programming, these two - and with some visual programming - many other data sets can be used as base for software features like CO2 emissions and infant mortality in this example application.
The software features “infant mortality” and the “CO2emissions” are found in the user processes service of the virtual office. Click on the tree node Worldbank. Select infant mortality and you will be presented with a panel on the right side. You are able to search for any subset of countries and display the result in table format below the search statement. Having selected one country with a single left click in the table, and clicking on the button labeled “View”, the countries rate is charted in a bar graph throughout the entire time span. By clicking the “Total” button you get the average percent value over all countries in the result table charted on a bar graph throughout the entire time span. You can also create a report in pdf file format. Please follow the four steps displayed in the GUI accordingly to what you want to do. You also can compare the values of two countries from the result table by selecting them by using the input combination “ctrl - left click” and then the button “compare”. You will be getting a line chart with both countries annual values over the entire time span.
The import feature enables the user to import data provided in comma separated value text files (csv) with a specific structure.
Please visit Flowcharts bridging worlds project homepage (www.ixp.com/flowcharts_bridging_worlds.jsp) for further details. You can find details about the software features, data files used in the example application and motivation of our work.
Enlarging the group of Know How contributors and programmers, reducing the degree of difficulty in deployment, reproduction and delivery are major factors, in the overall necessary cost reduction and the needed increase in flexibility of custom applications and their adaptation to changing requirements. We can only achieve this reduction in cost and increased flexibility by changing our fundamental approach to a) who and how we make and b) how and for what we use custom software as a tool.
We are building IXP , an online service in which we combine our innovative approach to software life cycle management based on flowcharts and use energy efficient hardware and service installation. I care about this subject matter. Based on my comprehension we have to consider much more the environment in our activities each one of us!