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About the TraSer software releases in general

While developing software for the TraSer solution platform, we put much emphasis on shaping the emerging new solution to meet the needs of prospective small business users. Since these requirements are, as of today, only partly known, even by the users themselves, we decided to subdivide development in separate phases which deliver TraSer software in various releases. At the end of each development phase, users can download and install the new release and gain experience which is taken into account during further development.

All of these pre-final releases are, in fact, experiments which are, to the greater part, based on previous versions but are not necessarily compatible with them—for this reason, users are more than encouraged to try them in examples which are not business-critical, but we shall always remind them of the experimental nature of these intermediate releases. The final release, on the other hand, will be handed over to a community of TraSer users and developers as a ripe product, and from then on, compatibility between newer and older examples of the solution platform will be ensured to the highest possible degree.

The intermediate releases are focusing on two application fields: supply-chains (management of physical material in general), and electronic documents.

Supply-chain-related releases will be published as follows (see also detailed description further below):

SC release 1: February 2008
SC release 2: March 2008
SC release 3: May 2008
SC release 4: October 2008
Final SC release: January 2009

Much of the functionalities required for tracking of electronic documents are already developed as a by-product of supply-chain releases, therefore, a version especially dedicated to electronic document tracking will be presented only once, in July 2008.

If you are interested in the software implementation more in detail, please visit our OSC page hosted on  Get TraSer at SourceForge.net. Fast, secure and Free Open Source software downloads. If you are considering joining the development, but have not made up your mind yet, check out our document describing why you should join us .

 

Releases in detail

Supply-chain releases

The “mainstream” of development and research efforts within the TraSer project focuses on a solution platform for tracking and tracing physical items, such as products in a supply-chain, hence the name “supply-chain releases”. However, supply-chains are only one application example (nevertheless, one of the most demanding and critical ones) for the TraSer solution platform, not excluding a wide spectrum of other possible areas of use, such as “asset management”, i.e., keeping track of equipment owned and operated by a company for a longer period of time, such as containers in logistics or lab instruments at a research institution, university etc.
 

February 2008: first public release for general use in supply-chains

In February 2008, the TraSer software will make its public debut with a release which will support simple supply-chain operations in general:

  • This first release will allow future users to set up and experiment with nodes and clients for a TraSer network where various data (such as the physical location of the observed items) can be tracked, including an optional storage of historic data.
  • Provisions will be made for the case when all communication to the rest of the world has to pass through a gateway to protect a company intranet.
  • A first solution to access control will be also introduced where access can be controlled on an item-by-item basis
  • Users will be able to create and test their own schemes for data modeling, and basic means of translation between schemes will be given.
  • In order to master cases where a given numbering scheme mst be adopted, already this first public release will provide a simple, locally managed translation mechanism between TraSer's own ID@URI numbering and other schemes.

March 2008: second public release for general use in supply-chains

In addition to previous features, this release will put most emphasis on improved networking within a TraSer network, as well as external components, such as already existing ERP systems:

  • In this release, both storage of item-related information and message relaying can be done in a distributed way. This means that messages are not just forwarded, but can be split into pieces which are then forwarded separately. Similarly, replies obtained from different sources can be reassembled to one query result.
  • Another "first" in this release will be the integration with an already existing ERP system. Based on reviews of existing solutions used by industrial members of the project consortium, one typical ERP system will be selected for the implementation of the adapter, and proper documentation will be provided which the users can rely on when they wish to adapt to another existing solution.

May 2008: third public release for general use in supply-chains

In addition to previous features, this release will focus on the integration of AutoID middleware, as well as enhanced networking functionalities:

  • AutoID middleware, especially RFID middleware will receive noteworthy focus in this release: one or more examples of middleware integration will be implemented, and guidelines will be provided for the integration of other middleware implementations.
  • The conversion of numbering schemes are, in this release, no more tied to locally present translation mechanisms but can be realized via networked services. In other words, the mapping of different identifier schemes can be shared over the TraSer network or offered as a service to other users.
  • This release will also enable users to maintain a local consistent copy of the data of an item. This caching functionality can be used as a backup measure if the network connection is interrupted, or as a means of accelerating repeated operations.

October 2008: fourth public release for general use in supply-chains

This release will deliver further networking enhancements over previous releases, especially as far as handling of temporal aspects and networking functionalities are concerned:

  • So far, only the present and the past of items was an issue; in this release, however, nodes will have the ability to depict information concerning the future of items, such as prescribed delivery schedules or action plans regarding selected items which can be used to detect deviations from a plan and automatically trigger alarms or correction measures.
  • The local duplication (caching) of data will receive an upgrade as well: in this release, it will be possible to override (alter or augment) locally stored information and hide it from unauthorized network members if needed. Such functionalities are needed if, e.g., the processing history of a third-party work piece is recorded for company-internal purposes.
  • This release will also support the exploitation of features specific to RFID tags with sufficiently large memory: now, it will be possible to use surplus memory in the ID tag for maintaining a cache or buffer which travels with the item itself. This is of importance in applications where rudimentary infrastructure or a hostile network environment do not allow some data to be transmitted through the network.

January 2009: final public release for general use in supply-chains

The intermediate versions of the TraSer solution platform, along with the experience gained with them, will culminate in this release which is the final output of the project, and the first version whose improvement and maintenance will be entirely taken over by the community of TraSer developers and users after completion of the project. From this point on, later versions will be laid out for maximum compatibility to earlier versions.

This release will add the following features to those of the previous ones:

  • Caching/buffering of information in RFID tags will be made possible in a more versatile way, since from this release on, selected existing syntaxes will be also exploited via “piggybacking”, i.e., using the possibilities of existing solutions for TraSer’s purposes.
  • Based on experience gathered with previous versions, this release will allow access control by rule definition, in addition to an item-by-item authorization. In other words, users can create their own access rules at any level of detail they desire, saving them the work of cumbersome access definition for each item one by one.

 

Data tracking release

Although not the main concern in TraSer, the tracking of electronically stored documents is somewhat set apart from managing physical items, largely due to differences in the behavior of electronically stored entities (such as easy replication through copying). In order to cover this segment of small business needs, a special adaptation of the TraSer platform will be issued in a dedicated data tracking release in project July 2008. This release will exhibit all the features of previous supply chain versions of the platform and will allow the user to set up data management services characteristic to a networked version control system, for both centralized and distributed storage of the files to be managed.


Selected features of various TraSer releases