|DESS 7||Overview||Why Use DESS|
DESS is designed to be as open as possible. You can import data from other systems such as GIS or billing. You can also get data out of DESS should you need it for further analysis or for export to other software. DESS also allows you to extend the functionality by adding custom plugin modules.
XML File Storage
All data for a DESS system, including the network configuration, reference data, and geographic data, is stored in a single XML file. XML is a structured text format, which looks something like the HTML used to write web pages, but is much more general. It is one of the most open formats for the exchange of data between software programs. A wide range of general purpose tools exist for reading, manipulating and converting XML data.
The use of XML data ensures that the data you have in DESS will never be locked in to a proprietary format where you are dependent on the vendor for access. The specification of the structure of the XML data is available from the following link.
The human-readable format of the XML data in DESS allows you to use simple text editors to view or examine your data should the need ever arise. Some of our more knowledgeable customers have even used the Find and Replace features in Notepad to modify their DESS data.
We put a lot of effort into supporting the import of GIS data into DESS. Most utilities have a GIS system which contains most of the information required by DESS. If the data is available in GIS then it doesn’t make sense to manually enter all this information in DESS when it can be imported automatically. Tools exist to import data from the following GIS systems:
- ESRI – The ESRI Import plugin for DESS can read data (including ESRI connectivity data if available) from an ESRI personal geodatabase.
- Intergraph – Intergraph Canada provides tools from importing data into DESS from both the FRAMME GIS and their newer GElectric products.
- CableCAD – Dromey Design and Enghouse jointly developed a tool for importing data into DESS from CableCAD
- SHP/DBF – This plugin for DESS can read and import ShapeFile and DBF data exported as a generic format from many different GIS systems.
If you don’t see your GIS system listed here, please contact us. If your GIS system exposes it’s data in any kind of standard file format or API (i.e. ODBC, ActiveX, .NET) we can usually provide a customized import routine at a reasonable price. For proprietary systems, we’re happy to work with your GIS vendor to provide a conversion tool.
DESS provides a plugin architecture where small customized programs can be written to extend DESS. One of the most common uses of these plugins is to seamlessly provide data conversion and import or export functionality. Many of our GIS import tools are implemented as plugins. Plugins are written using the Microsoft .NET framework and also provide the means to integrate with an extensive range of other software interfaces and API’s, including .NET, ActiveX, C DLL’s, Java, ODBC and for reading various file based data including Excel, Access, text files, XML, etc.
Standard Output Tools
DESS provides a tool for outputting results data to a range of different file formats, including HTML, XML, CSV, etc. Raw result data can also be directly cut and pasted into your favourite word processor, spreadsheet or database program.