Technical Summary of
The Ariadne Insurance Training System (AITS)

(This document lives at http://www.gnosis.cx/docs/tech_summary.html)
If you have received a printed version, consult the URL for the most current version

Ariadne (AITS) consists of the components CESearch, CESearchMod, CEStatus, TMSWeb, TMSWebEdit, TMSWebAdmin.  Closely  functionally related to AITS are test materials designed so as to be compatible with TMSWeb.

Ariadne is a web-hosted service, which allows administration of its functions through common web-browser interfaces.  All of Ariadne's components are designed using widely available tools and standards.  Gnosis Software, Inc (a partner in Pelican Island Publishing) currently provides hosting services for Ariadne.  These hosting services can be easily expanded to accomodate whatever bandwidth and response demands our clients require.  In addition, we offer options to allow hosting of Ariadne, or its seperate components, within intranet or third party servers, as specified by Pelican Island Publishing clients.

Security of confidential data and regulation of the usage permissions of Ariadne are implemented within Ariadne itself.  No special firewall or external security protections are required by Ariadne.

The below summary consists of the following elements:  (1) A short statement of the functions of each Ariadne component; (2) A statement of the tools and standards used by Ariadne; (3) A set of links to additional detail documents concerning data and interface standards used by Ariadne.  Within each component description is a URL link to the detailed documentation of that individual component.


Components

CESearch (http://www.gnosis.cx/docs/cesearch_doc.html) is a product of Gnosis Software, Inc. (Gnosis) and Future Measures, Incorporated (FMI). Its purpose is to present a collection of information about regulatory requirements of insurance licensing in the United States. Included in the information presented will be state regulations; information on insurance-related designations and designating organizations; descriptions of providers of insurance-related courses, especially those satisfying continuing education requirements of state regulations; descriptions of individual courses offered. As well, CESearch will offer users the capability to perform intelligent searches to aid in locating information specifically relevant to their needs. Since CESearch will attempt to present current information on a changing regulatory environment, the product will need to be updated on a regular basis, and versioned in a manner reflecting those updates.

CESearchMod (http://www.gnosis.cx/docs/cesearchmod_doc.html) is a product of Gnosis and FMI. Its purpose is to aid in the updating, versioning, maintenance and packaging of CESearch.

CEStatus (http://www.gnosis.cx/docs/cestatus_doc.html) is a product of Gnosis and FMI. Its purpose is to produce an automated and intelligent appraisal of the standing of insurance agents in relation to their regulatory licensing requirements. Since CEStatus will attempt to process based on current information in a changing regulatory environment, the product will need to be updated on a regular basis, and versioned in a manner reflecting those updates.

TMSWeb (http://www.gnosis.cx/docs/tmsweb_doc.html) is a product of Gnosis and FMI. Its purpose is to administer tests to its users. TMSWeb is designed on a web-server/browser model in which tests and test-result data are stored on a server machine, and the browser acts as a "thin" client. Included in the facilities of TMSWeb are security mechanisms; the selective presentation of available tests to users based on individual user attributes and history; the capability of presenting test questions of a variety of commonly used types; the storage of the historical test results of each user.

TMSWebEdit (http://www.gnosis.cx/docs/tmswebedit_doc.html) is a product of Gnosis. Its purpose is to aid in the updating, maintenance and creation of test content which can be used within TMSWeb. Content created using TMSWebEdit must ultimately be stored within a TMSWeb server database to be utilized within TMSWeb. It is anticipated that TMSWebEdit will usually be the most appropriate tool to manipulate the content of TMSWeb test; however, in specific cases--such as automated transformation of previously existing electronic test contents--other tools, or ad hoc methods, may be more appropriate.

TMSWebAdmin (http://www.gnosis.cx/docs/tmswebadmin_doc.html) is a product of Gnosis and FMI. Its purpose is to present summary data on the test results of multiple users, and to manipulate the interaction of TMSWeb with users. Included in the facilities of TMSWebAdmin is the capability of producing a variety of reports which aggregate TMSWeb test-result data in several ways; adding or removing tests from the availability list of specific TMSWeb users, or user-groups; manipulating the membership of users in user-groups; specifying messages, such as target dates and test goals, which will be presented to TMSWeb users.

TMSWeb Tests are test which may be created from time to time by Pelican Island Publishing, or by outside licensees of TMSWeb.

Communications Functions ( http://www.gnosis.cx/docs/communication_spec.html) will allow users to communicate general messages in structured ways. It will be possible within many Ariadne systems for supervisors or trainers to post messages of interest to specified groups of users. These notices - targetted, for example, at members of a specific classroom course or at all agents selling a certain product - will be posted by "super-users" authorized to send to specified groups. Gnosis does not anticipate implementing fully general email and discussion group capabilities, but would rather recommend use of capable third-party products in these areas.


Tools and Standards

Ariadne was created in and consists of modules written to the following language standards.

HTML
Ariadne utilizes HTML3.2, including frames, gif and jpg graphics display, and nested tables, as its standard for presenting and navigating the components and informational areas of the system. All of Ariadne exists within the framework of a set of HTML pages; these pages provides links and other navigation elements which call upon the services of program components on both the web-client and web-server side. 
JavaScript
Ariadne requires browser support for JavaScript at at least a 1.1 level. In practical terms, this Ariadne has been--and will be on an ongoing basis--validated against the 4.0+ versions of the Netscape and Microsoft browsers, on a number of OS platforms. Support for browsers below the 4.0 level, or from other vendors, is likely to work, but is not guaranteed. Additionally, clients will have to enable the JavaScript option in their browsers (all browsers currently ship with this as their default). 
Java
Although use of Java at a 1.1.4 level or greater is utilized to enhance the appearance and ease-of-use of Ariadne component, non-Java alternative pages will be created for all Ariadne components. 
Apache Server-Side Includes
Certain Ariadne components utilize the dynamic inclusion capabilities of the Apache HTTPd server. A number of other web-servers conform to the Apache/NSCA standard. Should any client require an intranet implementation of Ariadne without the use of server-side includes, an automated customization for that client is possible and straightforward. 
Python
Most of Ariadne's server CGI's are created using the language Python at a 1.5 version or above. Python is available for and portable between all major server platforms. Most of the security mechanisms, as well as the data storage routines, are contained in Python CGI scripts. 
Perl
A few of Ariadne's server CGI's are created using the language Perl at a 5.0 version or above. Perl is available for and portable between all major server platforms.

Formats and Interfaces

The following interfaces are defined for access to Ariadne components. Each component has been designed in a modular way so as to allow integration with other systems which clients or third parties maintain in an open, documented manner.

The following data structures and data models are defined by Ariadne. Gnosis' and FMI's intention herein is not necessarily to make available every detail of our (possibly proprietary) data design, but simply to document the overall design of our structures and models in order to allow client IT departments to understand and assess the Ariadne system.