A Web-Based Configuration Tool for Build-to-Order Products
  • Paul J. P. Slater
Conference paper


PCONFIG is a modern web-based constraint system managing the complex configuration requirements of one product range from a specific computer manufacturer. The range spans multiple CPU types, Operating Systems, Option cards and all the diverse multi-way relationships to be found in the assembly of complex computers.

A principled approach to configuration was adopted from the outset with special attention given to ongoing product enhancement. Computer Parts and Engineering Constraints are separated in this unique configuration engine allowing each to be updated independently; typically by different people. The complex modelling essential in capturing multi-way relationships is dealt with by coding configuration information using a tool boasting a patented pattern-matching algorithm. This highly versatile rules-based, object-orientated development tool encouraged the simplification of a potentially difficult and complex problem into a relatively straightforward and extensible system.

This online configuration system goes live on the Digital customer web pages early next year. Future enhancements to PCONFIG includes a parts editor, a constraints editor and ordering methods allowing users to place orders not only by part numbers, but also system functions and system benefits.


Configuration System Customer Order Product Range Part Number Order List 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


Hypertext links

  1. 1. This site contains a downloadable order guide specifying the DMCC product range used in the PCONFIG programme.
  2. 2. Employee Led Instruction (ELI) is a web based intranet training tool designed to deliver training tailored to the needs of the individual.
  3. 3. Model Based Intelligent Training (MOBIT) was one of a small number of joint DTI & EPSRC sponsored projects as part of Intelligent System Integration Project (ISIP). Details on MOBIT are available on a DTI CD-ROM by sending email to or telephoning the DTI on 0385 948252.


  1. 4.
    Rule-based Programming with OPS5. Thomas A Cooper, Nancy Wogrin. 1988 Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, inc. ISBN 0-934613-51-6.Google Scholar

Hypertext links

  1. 5. RuleWorks is the next generation rules-based application development tool from Digital replacing the original OPS5 expert system development tool. Information on this product is available by sending email to
  2. 6. David Browne maintains a useful index of Configuration links to background information and demonstrators on the subject of configuration.


  1. 7.
    Introduction to Data Base Management. James Bradley. 1983 CBS College Publishing. ISBN 4-8337-0157-X Holts-Saunders International Edition.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. P. Slater
    • 1
  1. 1.Digital Equipment Scotland Limited(A COMPAQ company) September 1998Scotland

Personalised recommendations