The Automated Store – Accessing Data

This is part two in a series about a mad engineer and the machine-framework he created in the early 1900′s. Any resemblance to modern frameworks, living or dead, is purely coincidental. 

In the first post of this series, the store owner, Jim Blackford, outlined the basic requirement he would need for Version 1 of the Automated Store Machine. We’ll quickly review his requirements:

Blackford: Well, I want to keep track of my inventory. So I guess it should let me create inventory records and store them well. The I should be able to access them at any time to read them, update them, or delete them. And it should keep track of how much inventory I have, and let me modify that when I get a new delivery or sell an item.

Dr. Hanson: Crud, that’s a lot of work. But me and my assistant can get started on building that machine. We’ll keep you posted on our progress…

Part II - In The Hanson Basement.
Dr. Hanson discusses his plans with his assistant, Dave Kemp. 

Dave: What up doc?

Hanson: We have a new project. I met with Mr. Blackford, and he needs a machine to track his inventory.

Dave: An inventory machine? How will that help you achieve world domination?

Hanson: This machine will not just be focused on tracking inventory. For Mr. Blackford’s own sake, we will need to make it extendible so we can add new components to help with his store. But my plan for this machine is greater than that. Once we complete this machine, we will look at the principles of its design and use them to build other machines for all sorts of purposes. Ba-Ha-Ha!

David: How will you do that?

Hanson: We will need to work out the details. But we will use solid engineering patterns that will then be able to used when building other machines. After all, what is the purpose of any calculating tabulating machine? It needs to store and retrieve data in an easy fashion, and perform simple operations on the data. Once we have the right design worked out, everyone will want our machine! They will no longer need to have their own Personal Hodgepodge of Pasta built from scratch, they will be able to start out with solid architecture.

Construction Begins – Accessing data (rough version)

rails-toon-1

The Automated Store – The Plan

This is a the first post in a story about a mad engineer and the machine-framework he created in the early 1900′s. Any resemblance to modern frameworks, living or dead, is purely coincidental. 

Dr. Victor Hanson was a brilliant mathematician and engineer, though a tad crazy. He had invented a machine that could perform various calculations, but it had not sold well, and anyways he wanted to create something more ambitious. He decided to take out an ad in a newspaper to see if anyone needed his services:

newspaper-ad

Jim Blackford had been running his store without too much problems for some time, but he was getting a bit bored dealing with the same tasks every day.  He wished he had some way to automate some of these processes. One day, when reading the paper, he noted an interesting ad…

A week later, in a restaurant in New York:

Blackford: Dr. Hanson, I presume?

Hanson: Yes, nice to meet you. I can now tell you about my automated machine services. I built machines that can calculate and tabulate numbers, but I’m thinking of branching out into other areas. What kind of machine do you need?

Blackford: I’m tired of dealing with the same manual tasks while running my store. It would be nice if a machine could just take over various operations for me. Though I’m not sure how that would be possible considering our pre-digital age and all.

Hanson: Nothing to worry about, I cans create analogue machines.  Now what specific requirements do you need in your machine?

Blackford: Well it would be nice if I could receive some automated help  to keep track of all inventory, process transactions, display brochures to customers, and maybe hand them products from higher shelves too.

Hanson: Wo, not so fast! Let’s focus on the most essential features you need first and later we can iterate on that. What is the most basic important thing you are looking for when shopping for automated store-running machines?

Blackford: I guess some way to keep track of all my inventory.

Hanson: OK, so let’s focus on that. What exactly do you want the machine to do?

Blackford: Well, I want to keep track of my inventory. So I guess it should let me create inventory records and store them well. The I should be able to access them at any time to read them, update them, or delete them. And it should keep track of how much inventory I have, and let me modify that when I get a new delivery or sell an item.

Hanson: Crud, that’s a lot of work. But me and my assistant can get started on building that machine. We’ll keep you posted on our progress…

Stay tuned for the next post where Dr. Hanson builds a first version of his machine. You can follow me on Twitter or RSS