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COMPAS Product Features

Our product features have evolved over many years by providing document management solutions to corporations. For your convenience, we have organized our features into 7 categories: Enterprise Architecture, System Access, Information Access, Authoring and Delivery, Distribution, Workflow, and Administration.

Enterprise Architecture

  1. Scalable Enterprise Architecture

    COMPAS feature functionality is delivered on a revolutionary state-of-the-art architecture. This 3-tier client/server architecture and Java provide a powerful architectural combination. Thin Java clients access our distributed API servers, and the API servers access the base servers. The whole enterprise is accessible from the same client using this architecture.

  2. Multiple Platform Support

    Using Java for the client software allows us to use the same code for Unix, Windows or Macintosh platforms. In addition, we use the same code for our Applet that runs in your web browser.

    COMPAS can easily search any other instance of COMPAS on the internet or intranet as long as the other locations are administered locally for access. Also, custom user interfaces to document management can be easily constructed by using our full featured API.
  3. Efficient Networking

    COMPAS Networking is accomplished via sockets using TCP/IP. In our 3-tier Client/Server architecture, thin clients communicate with distributed, middle-tier API servers which in turn communicate with a set of thin base servers. The client contains a robust set of modules that implement the TCP/IP protocol. There are also network modules that implement the API Server network protocol and the base server network protocol. The base servers include a relational database server, document repository, a word-index database server, an OLE Automation server, and an administration server. The base servers can reside on any UNIX machine accessible from your local network.

    For those who prefer a non-networked implementation, COMPAS networking can be turned off and the entire system can be run on a single machine.
  4. Relational Database Independent

    COMPAS can be run with any relational database. It currently has been installed with Unity, Informix, Oracle, and Ingres. If the user does not have a prefered relational database, the system can be installed with a free Unity or PostGres database.

    Relational database independence is accomplished by an architecture that allows the application code to talk to a database object to accomplish all database operations. The database object in turn communicates with different relational databases by translating the application requests into an specific SQL. The translators are small and can be easily written for any relational database. They plug directly into the database object.
  5. ISO 9000 Compliant

    Each ISO 9001 and ISO 9000-3 requirement is easily met using COMPAS. COMPAS Document Control provides a set of detailed procedures to projects on methods and processes for meeting those requirements. Each ISO document management requirement is mapped to a section in this document that describes how the requirement is met using COMPAS.

System Access

  1. Desktop Application Interface

    The desktop application is a full-featured thin client that runs on Windows, Unix, Linux, and Macintosh platforms. This application is very small and very fast. It is faster than the full-featured browser applet and other web interfaces because it resides and runs on the local system. When new client releases become available, the user is automatically notified and given a chance to download and install the new release. In that way, the application can stay current just like web applications stay current.
  2. Web Browser Interface

    All of the features in COMPAS are available via the web interface using your web browser. The same software that runs as a thin client on your Windows or Unix workstation is run as a Java Applet from a web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer. This is possible because the entire client software is written in the Java programming language. There are only a few differences between the client application and the web applet. For example, the applet uses the browser to display documents and the application launches a preferred browser depending on the document format.
  3. Simple HTML Web Interface

    For those who want convenience and speed, we have created a simple, forms based, HTML interface. This interface can be used to search for and browse documents and document MRs. None of the features that would require database updates are available in this interface.

  4. Web Links to Documents

    You can use a web site to host COMPAS documents or just include a link to your document in email from COMPAS using the method described below.

    The compasweb interface to the web allows an owner of a document in COMPAS to provide a link to that document from email or a web page. For example, an html document would reference the COMPAS document with the following link:
    where XXX is the COMPAS ID of the document, YYY is the format to return the document and Z is the optional version number of an old version of the document. Valid formats are "raw", "pdf", "postscript", and "ascii". Version is an optional parameter - if you leave it off, you will obtain the latest version of the document. If you specify a value for version, it can be either the version of the document you want or it can contain the value "draft" to obtain a copy of the CC_Draft document in PDF format. The link, when selected, will download to the browser the document in the format requested.

    Another way to use the compasweb interface with the POST method is given below:

    <form action="http:/YourWebServer/cgi-bin/compasweb" method="POST"> Document ID: <input type=text name="prodid" size=10 maxlength=10> Format: <select name="dformat"> <option selected value="raw"> raw <option value="postscript"> postscript <option value="pdf"> pdf <option value="ascii"> ascii </select> <input type=submit value="Get Document"> </form>

    The mrSrch interface to the web provides a web page author with access to the MRs for a document in COMPAS. For example, a web page could reference the document MRs with the following link: href="http://YourWebServer.com/ cgi-bin/mrSrch?prodid=XXX&QUERY" where XXX is the COMPAS ID of the document with MRs and QUERY is a relational query used to select the set of MRs. A typical query string might be "mrstatus!=completed&mrstatus!=closed" which will retrieve the open MRs for a document.

    The notifyMe interface to the web provides a web page author with the ability to add someone to the Automatic Change Notification List for a given document in COMPAS. For example, a web page could reference the notification script with the following link: href="http://YourWebServer.com/ cgi-bin/notifyMe?prodid=XXX&handle=YYY" where XXX is the COMPAS ID of the document and YYY is the Unique Handle of the person to be added to the document notification list.

  5. Command-Line Interface

    All features are available via a command-line program called mesaridgecl. A man page is available that describes the command-line options. Documents can be entered or retrieved from the system with a simple command. Also, a command-line query can provide output that can be used to formulate your own project reports or to import COMPAS data into other systems.

  6. Customizable Interface

    You can create your own document management application interface by using the COMPAS API or you can quickly and easily integrate document management into any application. The COMPAS API consists of a large set of document management functions and operations that are packaged for easy access and usage. These functions can be accessed directly from the distributed API Servers or from the command-line interface . See the API reference for detailed information about accessing the API directly.

    The COMPAS Java client application, the Unix Command-Line interface, the Java Applet, and the Simple Forms-Based HTML interface all use the COMPAS API directly to perform document management functions. The API uses a custom protocol over TCP/IP network sockets.

Information Access

  1. Powerful Search Engine

    COMPAS has a powerful search engine so you can combine relational attributes (document properties) with the words contained in documents to retrieve a list of documents. There are four distinct ways to search for and retrieve documents with COMPAS, using:

    1. the unique ID assigned to the document
    2. document properties (attributes)
    3. document content (words and phrases)
    4. document properties and content
    Document Properties are pieces of information about the document given when the document is entered into COMPAS, such as author, title, date, size, status, etc. COMPAS also maintains an inverted index of words and phrases for each document, so that you can, for example, search for every document that contains a particular word or phrase. In addition to using the first three ways of searching, you may combine word searches with attribute searches. For example, you can search for all documents that have a particular word and a certain author. Or search for all documents created after a certain date, that are less than a given size, and that contain a particular set of phrases.

    In addition to combining powerful relational operators (e.g., <, >, !=, =, and so on) with attributes and words in the document, you can refine the set of documents returned from a search. You can perform many combinations of relation operations using the AND and OR operators to obtain a single search result.

  2. Document Links

    The Document Links feature can be used to "link" related documents together. Any given document can have related documents and those related documents can have related documents. Examples of the benefits are:

    • You can store Scribe's Notes, paper notes, examples, etc. with a document and they have their own attributes, versions, document type, etc.
    • You can store a mix of various document formats with a document (word, excel, roff) .
    • Related document -> related document -> related document provides document hyperlinks.
    • A Master Document concept can be used to link project procedures, book chapters, etc.
    • Versions or release of the same document can be linked.
    • Requirements traceability - Reqts can be linked to design, design to testplans, etc.

    You can easily link documents to any other document. Those documents in turn may also have links. Hyperlinks can be inserted easily regardless of document format. The related document links can be browsed from the search result list window or the document detail window.

  3. Project Document Organization

    Documents in COMPAS are organized into a 3-level Project Designation Hierarchy. There must be at least one Release for a System and at least one Subsystem for a given Release. For example, a project could have a System name of Definity with multiple Releases Gxxx, and for each release, it could have Subsystems such as switch, call processing, tools, maintenance, system test, and administration. Another example is a project with a System name of Definity and a Release name of Quality and only one Subsystem name of Quality.

    The advantage of the project organizational hierarchy is that project documents can be retrieved and accessed using single relational query. All the document entries for a project release can be retrieved by a query naming only that System and Release. This makes it easy for project members to access project documents and to track and control project documents.

  4. Explore Project Documents

    You do not have to know what you are looking for in COMPAS before you can use the system. For those who don't really have a search criterion, but want to browse around and just see what is available in the system, you can use the Explore Projects feature.

    The Explore Projects feature displays a list of project names which are organized by the system, release, and subsystem using a Project Document Organization hierarchy. This display is similar to the Microsoft Windows Explorer view which is a tree view of project information. After navigating to a project, you will see a list of documents by title and author. Selecting a document will open that document in the browser for that document format type.

  5. Recently Accessed Documents

    Each COMPAS user can set preferences to retain a list of the recently accessed documents. The default is 5. This list is available from the main window under the File menu item. Selecting any item from the list will result in launching the Document Detail Window for that document.

  6. Frequently Accessed Documents

    You will discover in using COMPAS that there are sets of documents that you frequently access such as process documents, methodology, related features, your own documents, and so on. COMPAS has a feature that helps you organized these documents into folders that provide quick access to the documents. These folders are icons named by you that sit in your main COMPAS window. The tutorial called, How to Create Workspace Folders gives you more detailed information about how to create and update these folders.

  7. Process Metrics

    Your project can use COMPAS to track development progress, to assess productivity, and to assess process and product quality. This information can be obtained by generating a pre-defined or tailored set of status and statistical reports for a project.

    Status reports can be used to review the state of the list of work products to be completed for the project. A work product, represented by a document on the report, identifies the work item, who is doing the work, its size, the current state, and the number of open MRs. If a document has not been baselined yet, additional information shows schedule dates. Status information can be exported from COMPAS and imported into spread sheets and project management tools.

    Early in each release of a product, the project can create entries in COMPAS for anticipated work products (documents with no text), identify the people assigned to complete those products, and specify the date to be completed. As the documents are completed, they are entered into COMPAS in the draft status and reviews are scheduled. Eventually, the document is baselined and the status is moved to the change control state. A status report shows a picture of project progress as each document evolves throught the document life-cycle.

    Statistical reports can be tailored to show charts, graphs, and scatter plots for inspection and review data. This information is helpful in assessing the product quality and determining areas where improvements in the process can be made.

  8. Document History

    COMPAS maintains a transaction history for each document. The history records transactions such as document retrievals, document property changes, and document updates. The history is available from the Document Detail Window.

Authoring and Delivery

  1. Any Authoring System

    COMPAS supports any system used to create documentation. Once the document has been created, then it can be entered into the COMPAS system. Editor preferences can be set to launch the authoring system of choice to edit or browse the document in COMPAS.

  2. Real-Time Database Updates

    COMPAS does not do replication. All of the transactions are done in real time so that information obtained by you is timely and current.

    Real Time updates are possible for large, enterprise solutions because COMPAS implements a 3-tier client/server architecture. Most of the business rules and application code reside on distributed, middle-tier servers we call API Servers. So, the client software and the data server software is very lean and fast. The data servers access the relational database, the document store, and the word index very quickly and efficently since the data servers are not distributed like the application servers.

  3. All Formats Supported

    COMPAS supports every document format type. FrameMaker, ASCII, HTML, PostScript, PDF, troff, MS Word, MS Powerpoint, MS Excel, and MS Project documents require only that the source be delivered to the system. In a few other cases, a PostScript or PDF file will is required when delivering the source. The PostScript file is converted to PDF and used as a universal medium for word-indexing, copying, conversion, printing, and browsing.

    COMPAS provides a very flexible set of choices for browsing. There are PostScript viewers, Netscape, PDF viewers, editors, word processors, text windows, and so on which can be customized by you. For each type of document in COMPAS, you can specify a different viewer and a different editor. The system also provides a method to convert any type of file to ASCII, PostScript, or PDF before browsing.

  4. Automatic Change Notification

    COMPAS automatically provides a notification list for each document. It is a list of email addresses of the people who accessed your document or who just wanted to be notified when the document changes or when MRs are created.

    When you print or copy a document, you are asked if you want to be added to that notification list. The notification list can be viewed or edited. Also, you can go to a document detail window and add/remove yourself from the notification list via a menu item. With this feature, it is not easy for you to have an outdated or obsolete copy of a document. When the document has changed, people are automatically notified of the change by electronic mail and a web link pointer to the changed document is included in the mail notification.

  5. Check-In/Check-Out

    Check-In/Check-Out is a change control feature in some document management systems that notifies people when documents are out for editing and tries to prevent people from over-writing each others updates to a document. COMPAS implements a sophisticated Check-In/Check-Out feature in a simple, and clean way.

    In COMPAS, the Change Management System is used to manage the status of document changes. When a document is accessed by a user, the open MRs are presented with the document. Approved MRs represent a complete description of the change that is taking place to the document or that will take place soon. MRs that are created or resolved represent requests for change that may be approved for the document in the future. These open MRs are an official part of the document in COMPAS.

    After a document is accessed by a user, they are presented with the option to be added to the Automatic Change Notification list which is used to inform users by electronic mail when there are requests to change a document they are using, when a change request has been approved, or when a document is actually updated. The change notification email is used to review document changes and new MRs which are imbedded in the email as web links to the changed document. Those users are also notified each time a change request has been created for a document.

    Simultaneous updates to documents are prevented by COMPAS since there may be several authors but there can only be one document owner for each document with permission to change it. The person who creates the document entry in COMPAS and delivers the original draft document is designated as the owner of that document. A document owner can delegate ownership to another person at any time, but there is one and only one owner at a time. The owner acts as the document coordinator and should coordinate all changes to the document. This feature removes the complexity needed to protect multiple owners from overwriting a document with multiple edits. Even if this did happen in COMPAS, the version control feature can be used to recover old version edits.

    COMPAS provides coordination for updating of multiple projects in one or more locations by having a central database and document store that is accessed by all locations in real-time. The single document database is accessed via a network and coordination of updates is managed by a distributed database management system. A document can only be updated by the owner or coordinator designated as the owner. When the document is updated, the update is immediately available and visible to all locations.

  6. Document Entries

    When a document is entered into the database, it is assigned a unique COMPAS ID, and is immediately available to all instances of Enterprise COMPAS. All document formats are accepted. These formats include but are not limited to Troff, PostScript, PDF, HTML, ASCII, Frame Maker, MS Word, MS Excel, MS Project, and MS PowerPoint. COMPAS detects the format of a document and generates an intermediate PDF format that is stored with the original source document. The document can be browsed on any platform using the default Adobe Acrobat Reader with the PDF document. However, each user can establish the programs that should be launched for each type of document format overriding the Adobe Reader if desired.

    All of the words and phrases contained within the documents are indexed so that they can be used in the search engine. In addition, reverse-delta versions are stored for each document. A reverse-delta is a file containing only the differences between the current document and the previous document. Applying the differences in reverse to the current document will regenerate the previous document. In this way, all the versions are difference files except the most current document.

    Each document in COMPAS contains a History file and an Automatic Notification file. The history file contains every transaction made against the document along with the handle that performed the transaction and the date of the transaction. The notification file contains the list of handles of the users who obtained the document for viewing, or printing. The user is given an option to subscribe to automatic notification for each document they obtain. When that document changes or when an MR is written against that document, email is sent to all those users who subscribed to automatic notification and they are notified that their copy may now be obsolete. In that email, they are given a link to browse the updated document and also a link to obtain the approved MRs or all open MRs.

    Document properties are stored into a relational database for each document entry. These properties are assigned values when the document is first entered into the system, and as the document matures and goes through different stages and statuses of the document life cycle. The document properties are title, authors, system, release, subsystem, type, subtype, area, owner, date, status, status date, size, number of versions, format type, number of open MRs, and so on. A document is initially assigned the status of draft automatically by the system.

    If a document entered into the system is related to other documents already in the system, as an attachment or other relationship, then the user should establish a link to all the related documents. Each document can have as many links to other documents as needed.

    It is the document owners' responsibility to make sure they enter the document under the proper project version as represented by the system, release, and subsystem properties. If the document is a controlled document, the document property called Controlled must be set to the value yes.

  7. Document Updates

    Document owners should verify that their document is stored under the proper version of the project. If the document is to be updated for a new project version, a new COMPAS ID should be created and the document delivered under the new ID using a new project version.

    When a controlled document is updated, versions of that COMPAS ID are automatically created and maintained by the system. These documents are uniquely identified by the automatically assigned COMPAS ID, the version number, and the system, release, and subsystem under which the document is stored. A controlled document can be updated while in the draft and rework statuses without creating an MR. However, if the document is in the chg_ctl status, an approved MR must exist before the document can be updated. Prior to having an approved MR, the document owner can deliver a draft of the updated document using the CCDraft feature. The approvers can then review the changes before approving the MR. After delivering an updated document using approved MRs, the MRs will be updated automatically to reflect the version and date fixed.

    COMPAS provides coordination for updating of multiple projects in one or more locations by having a central database and document store that is accessed by all locations in real-time. The single document database is accessed via a network and coordination of updates is managed by a distributed database management system. A document can only be updated by the owner or coordinator designated as the owner. When the document is updated, the update is immediately available and visible to all locations.

    The Version Date of the document is automatically changed to the date the document is updated. It is the document owner's responsibility to hard-code the date in the document text and to update the date each time the document is updated. If they do not, then the printed document will appear erroneously to be older than the document Version Date and perceived as out-of-date.

    The people using the document will be automatically notified that the document has changed and their current copy is now obsolete.

    Assuming that a document is not updated each time a COMPAS MR is written, documents with a sufficient number of MRs, as defined by the project, should be re-issued and reviewed as described in the procedure Scheduling a Review. The project librarian should set the status of the document to the review status. After the new issue is approved, the MRs should be closed and the new issue delivered to COMPAS. The project librarian should then set the document status to chg_ctl.

  8. Quality Record Support

    Quality records need not be placed under document control. However, COMPAS can be used to meet the requirement of quality records since review data, inspection data, and review notes can be stored as documents in COMPAS. These items can be linked to the related documentation.


  1. Browse Any Format on Any Platform

    A document in COMPAS called, About the PDF Viewer describes the default document browser used by COMPAS. This Adobe Acrobat Reader is platform independent. If you do not configure COMPAS to use any other browser for some type of format, this default browser will be used.

  2. Configurable Browsers, Editors

    In COMPAS, you can decide which editor to use to edit each different type of document, and which browser to use to browse each type of document. These options can be set from the Edit/Preferences menu item on the main window. If you choose not to set browser and editor options, then the system defaults are used. The system defaults are very good browsers and editors but vary from one platform to another. For more information about configuring the browsers and editors, see the COMPAS Tutorial Configuring COMPAS Browsers and Editors.

  3. Document Availability

    The pertinent issues of all the appropriate project documents should be stored in COMPAS so they are available to all locations where operations essential to the effective functioning of the project are performed. Using the Enterprise version of COMPAS, projects can run clients from anywhere in the world and access their project data. All document information is immediately available since each installation of COMPAS accesses the same central base servers using different middle-tier API servers. Each transaction to these base servers is performed in real time and the data is not replicated so it is always current. A user does not need to log into the system to find out if a review has been scheduled or to get notified when a document has changed or an MR has been written. COMPAS uses internet electronic mail to notify users of document changes, MRs, and reviews.

  4. Accessing Current Documentation

    A document obtained from COMPAS is by default the latest revision of the document. To obtain older versions of a controlled document, the user must specifically request the older version. If a hardcopy of the document is printed, it is the user's responsibility to ensure that they have the latest revision in the following way.

    1. Verify that the date printed on the document is not older than the latest version date stored in the system. A document hardcopy is not a controlled copy unless specifically stated otherwise by the project. The document user should access COMPAS and compare the revision date of the printed document with the document property called Version Date to ensure the printed document is current.
    2. After obtaining a document, the user can be added to the Automatic Change Notification List. They will be notified via electronic mail whenever the document is updated or replaced or when an MR has been created for that document.
    3. Obtain the latest approved MRs that together provides a more current representation of the information contained in the document.

  5. Automatic Format Conversions

    COMPAS can convert any type of document in its database to PostScript, Plain Text, or PDF formats. Any document can be browsed or copied in these formats as well as in their original format. The original format is automatically converted to PDF or browsing, Plain Text for the word-index database, and PostScript for printing to PostScript printers.

  6. Internet Email

    COMPAS uses electronic mail to send notices to users when MRs are entered or document and MR statuses change. Email is also used for other forms of notification such as when documents change, or reviews are scheduled, and so on. The email subsystem uses the Unique Handle used as identification for sending email.

    Email addresses used in notification lists stored in COMPAS can also have electronic addresses that are not contained in the Post database. COMPAS supports addresses of the form name@location

    For those installations that do not have access to the Post database, a Post database alternate is easily produced by creating entries that describe the COMPAS users either manually or automatically.

  7. User Preferences

    The User Preferences consists of three tabbed panels containing preferences that can be administered by the user. The general preferences panel contains options for the path to the temp directory, the quantity of recently access documents to remember, document update options, document download options, and report options. The Network preferences panel accepts server names for the COMPAS API Server and the COMPAS Distribution Server (typically these are the same server). The Helper Applications panel provides a convenient interface for setting the browsers and editors for each type of document format. There are reasonable defaults for editors and browsers if the user chooses not to tailor them. You can change these defaults from the COMPAS main window via the Edit/Preferences menu item. See the tutorial for more help editing preferences.


  1. Document Control Flow

    The COMPAS MR subsystem formally manages changes to documentation. In its simplest form, COMPAS provides a mechanism for creating Modification Requests (MRs), providing change notification, tracking MRs through their various states, and generating MR reports. These MRs are tightly integrated with a document and are available when viewing document attributes, printing or copying a document, or updating a document.

    All actions and changes to a document are identified by unique COMPAS MRs. When an MR is created for a document, the people in the document Change Notification list are automatically notified. The MR is tracked through various states until closed.

    You can search for a set of MRs using the MR attributes and generate an MR Status Report. Full MR features are available such as actions and operations to change MR status, annotate MR descriptions, edit MR resolutions, and view MR history.

    When establishing a project plan, there are four distinct COMPAS document control flows that can be used by a project. They range from no control to rigorous control. To make sure the project meets all the ISO requirements for document control, the fourth control flow called Control Plus is recommended.

    No Control Flow

    There are some projects that have documentation that does not need to be controlled. These projects can choose the No Control option for their documents. The document owner or project super users can change the document to any status at any time. There are also additional statuses that these documents may have such as finished. A document is not controlled by default when entered into COMPAS. Document versions may still be kept for documents that are not controlled. The project can choose to write MRs to track changes to these documents but that is optional. If an MR is written against one of these documents, then the MR Person Assigned or the MR Originator can change the MR to any MR status. An MR data flow is not enforced as it is in the other document control flow options.

    Owner Control

    Those projects that need to control their documents but do not have project librarians, or do not require rigorous control, can choose to select the Owner Control option. With this option, the document owner can change the status of the document. However, the document must follow the document control flow.

    The build status of a controlled document is identified by the COMPAS properties draft, review, inspect, rework, sign_off, or chg_ctl. The document control flow shows the document life-cycle for an owner-controlled document. To identify the build status of a document, retrieve the document and look at the document property called status. A project can access their documents with a single query and generate a Document Status Report. This report will help the project track and control their documentation, and the progress of the project towards its milestones.

    When a document is delivered to COMPAS, it is automatically assigned the status of draft. When a review or an inspection is scheduled via COMPAS, the status is automatically changed to review or inspect respectively. If problems are found during the review or inspection that require an update to the document, then the owner or authorized agent should change the status to rework so that the document can be updated. At this point, either a new review is help or the status is changed to sign_off while the document is submitted to the review team for approval. If the approval is given at the conclusion of a review or inspection, then the status of sign_off is bypassed and the document status is changed directly to chg_ctl and the document is considered to be baselined. The project should retain sign-off approval sheets as quality records.

    Document versions are required and cannot be turned off when using the Owner Control flow. When a document entry is created, the document property called controlled must be set to yes. If a document is in the status of chg_ctl, then an approved MR is required before the document's current version can be replaced with a new version. Refer to the MR Control Flow to see the required MR control flow for this type of document.

    Unique COMPAS Modification Request (MR) numbers are assigned to a document to identify all requests for modifications or changes to a document. All of the users who have printed, browsed, or copied a document and who added themselves to the Document Change Notification List will be automatically notified when an MR is created. After an MR is created, it is tracked through the various statuses shown in Figure 3. MRs can be created for documents in any document status. When documents are retrieved from COMPAS, the open MRs associated with those documents are automatically retrieved and delivered to the user. Consequently, when a document is retrieved from COMPAS, all approved updates are also delivered.

    When an MR is created for an owner-controlled document, the document owner is automatically assigned to resolve the MR. The MR Person Assigned can change the status of the MR without special user privileges. Only the MR Originator or Super User can approve or close an MR. At least one MR must be in the approved status before a document in the chg_ctl status can be updated or replaced. If the document property called controlled is changed to no for this type of document, then the document status is automatically set back to draft.

    Librarian Control Flow

    This is the most common document control flow and is the system project default. The Librarian Control Flow is identical to the Owner Control Flow except only the Librarian can change the status of a controlled document to or from chg_ctl. Also, only the librarian can change the MR status to closed.

    Control Plus Flow

    The Control Plus flow is used by projects that need the most control possible for their documents. It is identical to the Librarian Control Flow with the exception that a document MR can only be approved or closed by the Librarian. Also, the approved MR will automatically move to the closed status when the document is replaced by a new version instead of the completed status.

  2. Document Version Control

    Document version control is used to track changes to a document. Each time a document is updated, a new version of that document is stored in COMPAS and the older version is retained by default as a reverse delta. This delta is small because it only contains the differences between the current and last version. The system automatically accesses the latest version when the user copies, browses, or prints a document.

    There are version control features to view a summary list of all versions, print or browse a diff-marked old version, print or browse an old version, and remove an old set of versions. Version control can be optionally turned on for any document with any format - binary or ASCII. Most document management systems store the entire document versions which is much less efficient and wastes disk space.

    When a controlled document has the status of change control, every new version is represented by at least one MR. The MR will show the version that fixed the MR and the fix date. The MRs together with the old versions show a complete change history for the document - changes and reason for change. This information can be used to verify the accuracy of changes and for root cause analysis among other things.

  3. Project Version Control

    Project version control is used in COMPAS to track the set of documentation for a specific version of a project. To access, organize, control, and track the documents for each version of a project, COMPAS uses the Project Document Organization hierarchy.

    The system property represents the project, and the release property represents a project version. Once a new project system, release, and subsystem have been established, new document entries can be added to the project. A document entry can be created and added to that project release, or an existing document entry can be copied to a new COMPAS ID and added to the new project release, or an existing COMPAS ID can be linked from another project to this project.

    A COMPAS document will be associated with at least one project version referred to as the Primary Project Designation. If a project wants to include a document in their domain that is owned by another project, then that document can be assigned to multiple projects using a Secondary Project Designation. Every document must have a single primary project designation and can have many secondary project designations. In that way, a document can be shared by many projects and that same document will appear in the project list as part of the single project query result.

    ISO 9000-3 Section 6.1.1 requires all document versions that together constitute a specific version of a complete product be identifiable. A single project search can be used to bring up all the documents used for any product release using this project version control strategy. The set of documents representing a specific project version is easily tracked by the project using document properties such as status to assess ongoing progress towards project milestones.

    If the document properties or document contents change for a document in an old project version, then we recommend that you create a new ID and store the changed document under the newer release. This preserves the ability to query on an old product release and retrieve an exact replica of all documentation for that release in order to meet the ISO requirements.

  4. Document Reviews

    A Review is a formal procedure used to verify the quality of technical documentation. If COMPAS is used for reviews, a document will have a set of review attributes that characterize the review product, process, and results. This information can be used in database searches to find the reviews that are scheduled by the project, when and where they will be held, and who to contact. Also, review notices can be automatically mailed to the participants, and review forms used in the meetings can be automatically generated. Status and statistical reports can be used to track review progress, and to assess the quality and productivity of the review process for a project.

  5. Inspections

    An Inspection is a formal procedure use to verify some of the quality attributes of technical documentation or code. If COMPAS is used for inspections, a document or the code will have a set of inspection attributes that characterize the inspection product, process, and results. This information can be used in database searches to find the inspections that are scheduled by the project, when and where they will be held, and who to contact. Also, inspection notices can be automatically mailed to the participants, and inspection forms used in the meetings can be automatically generated. Status and statistical reports can be used to track inspection progress, and to assess the quality and productivity of the inspection process for a project.


  1. Project Tailoring & Security

    A project in COMPAS is determined by a unique set of three attributes called system, release, and subsystem. Each document is assigned a value for each of these attributes that respresent the release of the project. A project can tailor access permissions, forms, and so on for the documents owned by a project. Optionally, the project can have a list of people who are authorized to access the documents. If you are not in the list, you will not be able to print, copy, or browse a document in that project.

  2. Large Document Storage Capacity

    The only limit to the size of your database is the size of your hard disk or file system. There are three primary data stores in COMPAS. A relational database that contains the document, MR, review, and inspection attributes; a file system that contains the document source; and an inverted word-index database. As an example, 70,000 documents can reside in 4-8 gigabytes of disk storage.

    The word index is compressed and stores words in an efficient binary form. It is also very fast. It only takes about 7 seconds to find all documents containing a certain word or phrase in a database of 70,000 documents.

  3. Usage Statistics

    COMPAS logs system usage in a database table based on the features that are accesses by individual users. Information is stored per user such as platform used, machine, total features used, individual features used, first access date, last access date, total accumulated access time.

    The purpose of this report is to help the development team determine which features need to be optimized due to heavy usage, and to either improve the usability of features not used or remove them from the system. Often it is the case that some infrequently used features are important to the users once they are aware of them or once they are made more user friendly. It has also been that case that a feature is just not useful.

    Keeping usage statistics by user allows us to assess use based on the graphical interface and location. Also, we can obtain a good mix of heavy versus infrequent users for surveys and personal interviews. This information is then used by the development team to improve the system.

    The recent BCS COMPAS Usage Report in PDF format is an example of an automatically generated report with default options.



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