Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Designing Your Own Custom MISys Interface

Since MISys announced the impending release of an API (Application Programmer’s Interface) for bar code system integrators in July, there has been increasing interest in developing custom applications on the part of MISys consultants and even a few end-users.

In the past, several clever programmers have figured out ways to add special functionality to MISys Manufacturing by tapping into the MISys database. On the surface, this seems like a good idea but it can actually lead to some very severe integrity problems.

As an illustration, imagine that you wish to add your own data to a table that contains four columns:

2 2 4 1
2 3 5 0
2 4 6 1
3 2 5 0
3 3 6 0
3 4 7 0
3 5 8 0

Even if you aren’t that clever as a programmer, you can probably figure out what data you should add to the first three columns in this table, right? But you would be hard-pressed to know what you should write in Column D.

Really clever programmers might be able to guess at the value for Column D. (Warning: the program depends on the correct value always appearing in Column D in order to function as designed.)

My point is that, absent an insight into how the program actually uses the data in this table, it is impossible for you to write new data (rows) without corrupting the database.

That’s a problem that is solved by the use of an API, designed by the people who know exactly what Column D is for and what data it should contain.

If an API existed for this imaginary example, the programmer would set the values for Column A and Column B, then call the API which would set the value for Column C (Column A + Column B) and Column D (1 if the values in Columns A and B are both even numbers, otherwise 0).

If ever you have the urge to write a custom program that manipulates the MISys database, I hope you’ll remember this article, slap yourself once or twice, then contact MISys Customer Service (802.457.4600) to find out whether an API is available to accomplish the results you desire.

As of this writing, the only API that is avaible is one that automates certain shop floor transactions so that bar code system integrators can write applications that interface proprietary bar code hardware to the MISys Manufacturing System.

If you have other needs, please submit them to Thanks!


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