Chapter 1. Introduction

This chapter stands for data dictionary. It also contains an example deducing from the abstract concept.

The abstract of package tracking

A real world example

Usually people order various goods from suppliers, have the goods packaged and sent to them. The suppliers of goods usually don't transport the packages to clients, they just hand them over to the shipping company to be shipped to clients.

Shipping companies consider themselves modern (DHL commercial on the TV) if they acknowledge the clients of the progress of the parcels, be it in means of setting up callable client service or building an information infrastructure and a central website where customers can log on and get information on location of their packages. Usually the parcels are assigned unique identification numbers (generally tracking numbers), and in order to retrieve the current location, the web frontend requires this tracking number to be specified.

When the packages are sent out, the goods suppliers in cooperation with shipping services generate the tracking number and give it to their customers by means of sending email accompanied with URL to the parcel tracking web address or just making phone calls to report the tracking number.

The tracking numbers are usually generated by the package database management applications that the shipping companies offer to the suppliers of goods. The suppliers package the goods and add records on each package to the database; after a while, both parcels and the data containing tracking numbers are fetched by the shipping company.

The generalization

Generally speaking, every single package is a service instance. Usually some data can be exported from the database in the form of CSV (comma separated values), or XML formats that contains names of recipients and tracking numbers. General term for this data is upload data.

Shipping company provides the service, which is a general term for the parcel shipping service. The company that sells goods and makes use of the service to deliver goods for clients is a supplier. With the help of the service the clients receive the goods they have purchased from supplier.

Handling of the upload data

Upload data is sent to TracePack application over the internet and it must contain unique codes or client aliases that the suppliers identify their clients with. It may be client name and address, or just email address accompanied with phone number. So when a client orders goods the second time, both of the ordered packages can be associated and linked to the same client in the TracePack database.

When the upload data is sent to the TracePack application, it is disassembled and every service instance record is attached to the appropriate client . If the client doesn't exist in the database he can log on to the TracePack web site, register an account and using the tracking number provided by supplier, link the service instance with the account. Linking service instances from multiple suppliers makes it possible to have a central access point for all of the packages that a client may have on the way from different services.

The next time the upload data contains the same unique client identifier (name, email address, telephone number), the service instance is linked with the client automatically. So this is all about service automation. For example, one can join his account to two online stores who use different aliases for him, one delivering CDs and using DHL as the shipping company, another sending books with UPS. The next time you order your CD from the same place, it appears automatically on your TracePack parcel tracking web page showing the location. You can even request to be notified by SMS whenever the parcel moves from one city to another or arrives at the destination.