AppBuilder for DSSTools; an application development environment for developing decision support systems in Prolog
A programming environment for developing complex decision support systems (DSSs) should support rapid prototyping and modular design, feature a flexible knowledge representation scheme and sound inference mechanisms, provide project management, and be domain independent. We have previously developed DSSTools (Decision Support System Tools), a reusable, domain-independent, and open-ended toolkit for developing DSSs in Prolog. DSSTools provides modular design, a flexible knowledge representation scheme, and sound inference mechanisms to support development of any knowledge-based system components of a DSS. It also provides tools for building the DSS interface and for integrating other non-Prolog components of a DSS such as simulation models, databases, or geographical information system, into a multi-component DSS. DSSTools does not provide project management, and its complex syntax makes rapid prototyping difficult. AppBuilder for DSSTools is a GUI-based [graphical user interface-based] application development environment for developing DSSs in DSSTools that supports rapid prototyping and project management. AppBuilder's easy-to use dialogues for managing and building knowledge-based and top-level control components of a DSS free developers from having to memorize complex syntax and reduce development time without sacrificing the flexibility of the underlying toolkit. AppBuilder has been used to develop the Regeneration DSS, a system for predicting the regeneration of Southern Appalachian hardwoods. AppBuilder is an application development environment for both prototyping and developing a complete DSS.