SHIPLYS is a three-year European Commission research project that started in September 2016. The project is in response to needs of SME naval architects, shipbuilders and ship-owners, who, in order to survive in the world market, need to improve their capability to reduce the time and costs of design and production, to be able to reliably produce better ship concepts through rapid virtual prototyping and to meet the increasing requirements for LCCA (Life Cycle Cost Analysis), environmental assessments, risk assessments and end-of-life considerations as differentiators.
The SHIPLYS project is mainly focused on developing and integrating rapid virtual prototyping tools with life cycle tools with common data models to improve compatibility and communication between tools, for improved reliability and reduced design time.
The SHIPLYS Platform was developed by Atlantec Enterprise Solutions (AES) to provide web-based services and resources to facilitate this common communication and data storage of the various integrated software tools.
The Design Management Tool (DMT), previously known as the Ship Design Workflow Controller, was designed predominantly by BMT, with significant assistance from AES, for Task 7.2 of the SHIPLYS description of work. The aim of the DMT is to provide an interface for a designer to access the SHIPLYS platform services, view the contents of the database, and assess the design state of the project. This report details the design and development of the DMT.
Design Management Tool Notable Features
The Design Management Tool is capable of the following key features:
Design Management Tool Interface Design
Graphical access to SHIPLYS platform services
Display and launch of integrated SHIPLYS software tools
Provide a graphic representation of the database contents
Provide an assessment of the design state of the project, and future steps
The DMT interface was initially designed by analysis of user requirements via a questionnaire, and subsequently by creating a list of required features as a result of the questionnaire.
The layout and appearance of the DMT were prototyped by incorporating required interface elements into GUI wireframes based on user requirements and features, while the visual style guide was derived from the existing style of the shiplys.com website. Mock-ups of the wireframes incorporating visual styles were modified after consultation with partners, in particular shipyards, for the final design.
The final DMT GUI design included the following views:
Splash Screen View: Welcomes the user, launches Connection Manager Dialogue View, and provides status updates as the connections to the SHIPLYS platform services are established
Connection Manager Dialogue View: Assists the user to connect to the SHIPLYS platform services and database within the Data Service
Home View: Displays and loads projects in the currently connected database
Project View: Displays the data objects of the project database, lists the currently available SHIPLYS integrated software tools that can be launched, and provides a visual representation of the design state of the project using an activity model view that includes activity state, availability of mandatory input database, and completeness of required output data.
Design Management Tool System Architecture
The DMT was designed using the Model-View-Controller pattern in Java utilising JavaFX for GUI elements and appearance. The usage of Java allowed for the integration of many existing AES modules for communication with the SHIPLYS platform services, and also enabled a significant amount of collaboration and co-development between BMT and AES for integration and expansion of functionality.
The DMT is designed to operate on a user’s local PC, launch SHIPLYS integration software tools residing on the same PC, and communicate with the SHIPLYS platform services, located on web or local servers using the REST-based SHIPLYS API.
Design Management Tool Outlook
There are also a number of key features that could be incorporated in the DMT, if development is continued in the future, such as:
A ‘Dashboard’ view with a graphical summary/categorisation of all activities
A ‘History’ view to show the chronological progression of activities and data, and their source
A detailed data object attribute view in the data view, such as numerical results
Comparison of data against requirements, where data that does not comply is highlighted
A ‘Design Comparison’ view, where two designs or the same design at different points in time can be compared
- Data Quality States and QA Process Enforcement, where data can be given a quality state by a user, such as ‘estimated’, or ‘calculated’, and must be reviewed by colleagues or supervisors before it can be used
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