Ultimately UBUC by its very nature has a large turnover. It is therefore dependent upon the efforts of fairly inexperienced members to ensure that equipment is maintained properly and that the necessary budget is put aside to achieve this.
The information within the "Database" is stored within xml files that can be viewed online at http://ubuc.org/maintenance/xml. These xml files are simply text files but should only be edited by someone with an understanding of xml and schema definitions. Suffice to say the file has a structure that will be understood by someone with xml expertise and if it is altered in a manner that is not compliant with that structure it will break the system.
The files have different purposes:
The log.xml file is the one that changes most frequently and so there is a safer method available for members to append to it. On any page of the maintenance DB, the icon when clicked will open a form allowing the user to input information that gets written to the log. The icon can appear several times on a page and each instance may have a slightly different purpose that can be ascertained by hovering over the icon with a mouse.
A more friendly view of the log file is provided http://ubuc.org/maintenance/Manual.php?id=log to faciliate Equipment and Boat officers quickly identify recent changes that are relevant to them.
The manual provides links to further information and when making log comments members can upload several types of other files these extra files are stored in the locations:
In order to reduce a complex and varied stores to an understandable system, the maintenance DB assigns a number of labels to things that we own, use or do:
The maintenance DB does have a page that can be opened in a browser or excel listing all items, parts, consumables and tools that are present in the stores http://ubuc.org/maintenance/Manual.php?id=stock. This view however doesn't list things that are not in the stores and are just purchased when required
Items have a status and a key aim of this database is to communicate the statuses of our items to the club membership in an understandable way. The statuses are:
The item statuses can be viewed on the maintenance DB home page. Alternatively if decommissioned items are of no interest item statuses can also be viewed in Microsoft Excel
The stock page listed earlier is also ammenable to be viewed in excel
A list is created at ubuc.org/maintenance/Manual.php?id=daemon that you can periodically copy into the log file. You will need to view the source of this webpage to see the log entries. For me it looks a bit like this at the time of writing:
You can see this in chrome by navigating to ‘view-source:http://ubuc.org/maintenance/Manual.php?id=daemon’
Copy the entries to the bottom of the log file to update the database.
A procedure is something we do and the maintenance DB provides instructions. Some procedures are more tricky than others and to communicate this, the maintenance DB assigns a difficulty
A procedure can be scheduled in which case it needs to happen with a given frequency - for instance cylinder testing. Or it can be done as necessary - typically operational instructions. If a procedure has a frequency then there may also be a consequence of it not being done and so an optionality is assigned:
It is intended that a regular process automatically moves items to their appropriate status. This is done by posting log comments. The comments made by this regular process will be identifiable by having an author of UBUC Daemon
A procedure might require a certain amount of time and money to do on an item to which it applies. The effort is a hard coded as an attribute of the procedure. The estimated cost would be expected to change year on year with inflation and is derived from a log comment made against the procedure.
Each item has an id and a name as do partbits, consumables, tools, procedures and suppliers. The id is used to construct the URL of the maintenance DB web page. This URL will always be http://ubuc.org/maintenance/Manual.php?id="id"
The page of an item shows:
Note in particular that the log button , appears multiple times on this page. Where it is adjacent to a procedure clicking opens a page to log completion of that procedure on that item. At the bottom of the page however clicking it simply logs a comment about that item.
The page of a procedure shows:
Note in particular that the log button , appears only once on this page. This page cannot be used to log completion of a procedure on an item - because it isn't clear which item it was done on. However comments can be made about the procedure and a specific type of comment is the estimated which sets the calculated cost of this procedure.
These things have web pages but the page is simpler as no status pertains to them. The page does however list
Comments can be logged against these type of things, the main comment is a quote that sets the price displayed on the maintenance DB
The maintenance DB lists pages for our most common Suppliers. It is unusual to log a comment on these pages they simply collect comments where that supplier was selected as involved in some log comment against some other item.
Since as far as the maintenance DB is concerned everything has an id and a name and it has a web page constructed from that id. It is sensible to fix labels to things with that id, name and an indication of UBUC ownership. This allows members with little experience to immediately identify what it is and why it is needed. We have a process for creating labels that creates two sizes of identifiable labels and these look something like:
A feature of these labels is the use of a QR code. This QR code encodes the relevant web page. Members owning a smart phone are therefore advise to download some free QR reader App such as QR Droid. This will enable immediate access to the appropriate page simply by showing the label to the smart phone. This is intended to facilitate logging which can be done from a smart phone.
The maintenance DB provides a mechanism of sharing maintenance information both within the current club membership but also forward in time to future members. However information expires. A record that a particular regulator was working 5 years ago isn't a reliable record that it is working or indeed still in the stores now. A record that was made 2 months ago is much more likely to be a true reflection of the current state of affairs. For this reason club members are encouraged to log frequently and also to regularly assist with and log completion of the simple inspection procedures to both proactively identify issues that can be rectified whilst it is still cheap to do so and also to ensure the information provided by the maintenance DB is indeed accurate.