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What is an EASAP?

The EASA system supports the creation and operation of a web-enabled application called an EASAP→short for an EASA APPLICATION.

The functional utility of an EASAP is derived directly from pre-existing 'underlying software' which may include (among many other possibilities):

  • a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
  • a numerical simulation code
  • a running database instance with stored procedures
  • a MATLAB application
  • a batch script that takes input files and creates output files

An EASAP provides a simplified and interactive web-accessible interface to the underlying software.

An EASAP life cycle has two distinct stages:

    • An Author uses the EASAP Builder to:
      • Create an EASAP
      • ModifySaveTest the EASAP over successive iterations
    • A User may:
      • Select and run the EASAP
      • Set inputs
      • Submit a run
      • Obtain formatted data output and figures

An EASAP under Development

An EASAP will encapsulate the domain-specific expertise of a specialist and then leverage and transmit this functional knowledge in the form of a network application to a decision-maker elsewhere in an organization.

In EASA parlance the expert or specialist is given the role of Author.

A User may have less knowledge or expertise or might be restricted from accessing intellectual property within a spreadsheet. Nevertheless he or she may conduct advanced computation via a Published EASAP's user interface.

An Author creates a simplified interface that will expose to the User a subset of the functionality provided by the underlying software for various reasons.

An Author may be motivated:

  • To conceal trade secrets such as proprietary pricing models or risk-benefit regressions
  • To hide configuration complexity and mitigate the potential for input error and erroneous results
  • To automate the workflow involved in doing some kind of analysis

Whatever the motivation, an Author will need to learn how to develop an EASAP in the interactive development environment referred to as the EASAP Builder (See Using the EASAP Builder)

An EASAP in Production

Once an Author has completed development and thoroughly tested an EASAP, he or she will Publish it to the EASA Server making the functionality available to a User via a web browser.

The EASA Server manages an EASAP deployed into production; it takes care of all aspects of an EASAP's operation.

For example:

  • A Published EASAP may be hosted via a cluster of EASAP Servers.
    • The EASA Server redirects the User to a machine with the lightest load.
  • A User sets inputs and submits them for processing.
    • The EASA Server automatically creates results folders.
    • The User may view them in a web browser.
  • Database connectivity is configured centrally on the EASA Server
  • The EASA Server archives input and output data in case a result needs to be audited for accuracy.
  • A User records and stores informal notes alongside particular submission output.
  • An EASAP may generate and store text, HTML, images and PDF files in the results folders.
  • Newer updated versions of an EASAP may be Published with descriptive text.

EASAP Examples

Three completed EASAP's are distributed with EASA to illustrate the development and production deployment of an EASAP.

  • Mortgage Calculator
  • Stock Screener Tool
  • Cantilever Plate Loading Analysis

Brief descriptions and a screen shot of each user interface are provided below. The reader is encouraged to play around with an example EASAP. Open one and examine it in the EASAP Builder, test it, and Publish it to illustrate the life cycle of an EASAP. (See Getting Started)

The Mortgage Calculator runs finance calculations in an Excel spreadsheet.

The Stock Screener Tool uses a database and builds and runs custom SQL queries from user inputs.

The Cantilever Plate Loading Analysis uses a Windows batch application to simulate a user-selected load on a plate with variable dimensions.