One fundamental principle of SystemWeaver is that information must be managed. In general, there are many potential cases of unmanaged data:
- Multiple copies of data
- Data for which the status is unclear
- Information that you cannot trace
- Unable to locate information
Unfortunately, the classical computer file, no matter what it may contain, lends itself to all these cases of poor information management. Nevertheless, for many reasons, we may still have to work with computer files in development processes.
There are are number of alternative ways of working with computer files in SystemWeaver, and depending on the specific circumstances, any of these methods would be applicable.
- Import the content of a file to SystemWeaver as items
- Upload the files to items as attachments
- Use a SystemWeaver Item as a "Proxy" for the file. External documents are linked to items of a specific type using an External Reference attribute. The external location of the file has to remain stable during the life-cycle of the document reference item.*
- Reference a file in an item description or as an External Reference attribute without the use of a "Proxy" item. If the computer file is already managed in a proper file management system you can still include the file in your SystemWeaver model by using references to the file.*
*Note that "proper management" of a file, and the file references, implies a number of conditions that must be fulfilled:
- The location of the file must be maintained for the planned life cycle of your SystemWeaver model. Note that assumptions on stability are often biased by poor understanding of "stability". What we think is stable may not be stable for an extended period. For example, often a product model must be maintained for decades. Even for an old version of an item any references must still work
- When a disk or file server is replaced the new disk or file server may not get the same name as the one it replaced. And then any references will break. Even when web servers and URL's are used the way files are referenced may change, say twenty years from now.