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Shooting A Moving Target| An Experience In Developing A Production Tracking Database

By Shiro Kawai


How can you track complex information ow for an organization rapidly changing its structure and workow? This is the problem we've been facing since we established Square USA Honolulu Studio in 1997 and began to work on a 100 % computer-generated feature lm. This is a new studio trying to do something new, and things change very quickly and sometimes drastically. In the lm production, the most important thing is to get the nal lm-out image, and it doesn't matter how you get it. The consistency of work ow is sometimes compromised by the deadline of image delivery. To cope with this situation, we've been using a Lisp-based object oriented database (OODB) from the beginning of the production. Lisp's exibility allows us to change internal data structures quickly while maintaining the compatibility with the other parts of the production, which turned out to be the key requirement for such a uid structure. We implemented a client-server architecture on top of the OODB and de ned a query language between them. No matter how the internal de nition of schema changed, we could keep the old query interface as well as the new one so that the old client tools would work. Also it allowed our programmers to work in parallel, without making them stop and update their interface all at once.

Year: 2010
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