2009-03-25

Human Resource Managment

Thomasz (from NET) and I have been discussing creating some computerized interface for Human Resource Management during the last weekly NET meeting. And while the current interface (the user addition thingy for Joomla, which is essentially a forum member registration and login tool) exists, it is not very practical in that when a new organization comes work with us, we can't immediately produce a list of things we could do for them as a team of experts.

If a similar situation arised at my job, I would have defenitely used a database to solve it. Databases are uniquely suited for this type of problem: Enter your people into a table, fill out the data you can and do your best to keep it up to date either trough convenience or automation. Then when somebody asks you a question, pull up a query and tell them.

Doing something like this for any group of people larger than six, without a database, would be a major nightmare: How can you give someone an answer you are honestly sure of, when they present you with a set of complex criteria and you have 50 people to consider and compare? Obviously however, a database is not good at subjective comparisons either, so the key to setting up a database you can use, is setting up the fields so that comparing them using logic functions or using simple math, gives you the answers you'll need.

So I have rememberd the Semantic Wiki extension I have set up into our wiki purely out of curiosity. The last that I was working with it, I realized it produced database-like functionality: If you give your properties in your articles their values, then you are able to query your wiki for the data and end up with a value, list or table. I thought that was really cool and still do. For this particular situation, we will be using this functionality to experiment with different fields (table columns, in databasespeak) and seeing how they work out for the output we need.

Once we have a good idea of what to pick, we will decide what to implement it in. At that time I will likely be discussing with Igor. I am looking at the idea of keeping Semantic Wiki underneath since it so conveniently produces "XML over HTTP" output, which would work neatly with you-know-what. But then again it is also very complicated, especially considering the point that we won't need this flexibility once we are all set and that reimplementing "XML over HTTP" output using PHP is childs play.

We will see.

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