BACKGROUND: Pittsburgh's City Information Systems (CIS) is responsible for the information technology needs of the city of Pittsburgh. Under the current administration, the department has been charged with meeting the goal of an information-based police force. This requires CIS to create an environment that provides police and other city departments with information when they need it, where they need it and in a format they can use.
PLATFORMS: Windows NT, Sun Solaris and other platforms that support JDK 1.1.7. CIS has used Cerebellum with Oracle databases running on Sun and Bull systems.
PROBLEM SOLVED: The City of Pittsburgh needed to create an application that delivered information to police, fire and emergency personnel immediately. In order to do this, Pittsburgh CIS needed to integrate data from police records, the 911 system and the mayor's service center complaint calls, and then provide information in real time to city personnel being dispatched to a location. The Street Smarts application that we built is a secure Internet application that allows dispatchers and mobile units of police and other emergency teams to view all city information for a specific zone or address. This includes crimes in the area for the last 24 hours, recent fire or 911 calls using the city's intranet.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: Cerebellum provides Internet data integration the capability to link existing corporate and administrative data sources with new Internet applications. These data sources may be from different vendors and may be on completely different platforms, including mainframes. Application developers use Cerebellum's visual environment to create data components that are used with application servers to build new, Web-based applications. Cerebellum supports all major relational databases, legacy data sources and ERP systems, and is integrated with the major application servers. Cerebellum also provides APIs for use in Java, C/C++ or Visual Basic programs. Data components created with Cerebellum are reusable across all supported programming environments and provide data independence by insulating the developer and application from the underlying databases.
STRENGTHS: Cerebellum's visual drag-and-drop environment allows application developers to quickly create data components, thus speeding application development. We found that with Cerebellum our less experienced developers could quickly create very complex queries (including inserts, updates and deletes) that they might not have been able to create by hand. Several of the data components joined information from multiple databases. Cerebellum's database independence was also beneficial to us during the Street Smarts project when we were migrating our server and database environment to Sun servers and Oracle databases. With just a few mouse clicks, we were able migrate the data components without affecting the programs. No redesign of the data components was necessary, even though in several cases we changed the underlying database structure.
WEAKNESSES: We started developing with a beta test version of Cerebellum 1.1. It suffered from some typical beta problems. We are now running Cerebellum 1.2, which has been very stable. We will be upgrading to the current version of Cerebellum in the near future.
SELECTION CRITERIA: Cerebellum was selected because of its overall ease of use and productivity improvement for application developers, the reusability of its data components and its support of a wide range of databases and application server environments.
DELIVERABLES: Today when City of Pittsburgh police, fire or EMT personnel roll to a location, any past history or relevant information from city databases can be quickly accessed and distributed.
VENDOR SUPPORT: The implementation of Street Smarts took approximately two months from concept through user training. This was due to productivity gains from Cerebellum and using Cerebellum Software's services organization to speed knowledge transfer of the product to application developers. In addition, Cerebellum Software's customer support organization has been very responsive in answering questions and helping with usage-related problems.
DOCUMENTATION: Cerebellum's documentation is provided in electronic format that is fully cross-referenced and searchable. The product road map helps new users get a quick start. We like the multiple levels of help that are accessible from the road map, including a brief explanation, product usage examples and more detailed text from the manuals.
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