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O'Reilly Open Source Convention
Sheraton San Diego Hotel, San Diego, CA
July 23-27, 2001

News Coverage


RetrievalWare Query Tool: Glueware Between Knowledge Retrieval and Data Mining

Mac Cody

Track: Tcl/Tk Conference
Date: Friday, July 27
Time: 1:45pm - 2:15pm
Location: Fairbanks A&B

Tool Command Language (Tcl) could, arguably, be considered the first programming language designed from the start to act as glueware. Applied as either an embedded programming language or as a standalone scripting language, Tcl's strong suit has been to act as the means to interface between software components. The rich variety of tools and extensions that are available for Tcl, allows for the rapid development and deployment of Tcl-based glueware.

The increasing availability of Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and Government-off-the-shelf (GOTS) software often precludes the need for expending engineering development resources on development of sophisticated applications. It is seldom the case, though, that data from one application can be used directly by another application. Some form of data extraction and/or transformation is necessary. Tcl has been found to work very well at solving this need.

This paper describes the development of a Tcl-based glueware application that supports Convera Corporation's RetrievalWare knowledge retrieval system. The glueware, known as the RetrievalWare Query Tool (RWQT), performs extraction of selected documents from the RetrievalWare libraries. Document selection is based on a drag-n-drop metaphor, i.e., dragging individual document references or collections of document references from RetrievalWare's browser-based interface and dropping them onto RWQT's Tk-based interface. RWQT then can extract the documents and export them in various formats for use by various data mining applications.

The various extensions and tools used in developing RWQT will be discussed. This functionality was not immediately available as Tcl extensions were quickly created using David Beasley’s SWIG tool. Of course, the Tk widget library provided a means to rapidly develop the graphical user interface. The XF GUI builder tool provided an integrated development environment for managing and testing the code elements as well as creating the user interface.

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