Thursday, January 11, 2007

Some Background on the T4 & Friends Project

In several previous posts we have mentioned the T4 & Friends project. If you want to learn more about this project, you can check out the HP T4 & Friends web site where you can download the general purpose TLViz and CSVPNG software. Additional valuable information can be found on the T4 FAQ page where at the bottom you will also discover some links to valuable related documents.

Initially and on the surface T4 was a project that was intended to make things better for OpenVMS Engineering as it carried out various performance analysis duties. Converting proprietary format performance trend data to readily reusable (R-R) format turned out to be both easy and amazingly powerful. This step alone was a huge win as we were able to use the powerful features of tools such as Excel to help us do our jobs better.

Then, suddenly, tools such as TLViz the timeline visualizer and the versatile CSVPNG utility came on the scene and added at least another order of magnitude productivity benefit to our work. With better downstream tools, more and more people were able to see the value of converting proprietary data formats to the readily-reusable T4-style format so that they could benefit form the downstream tools such as TLViz and CSVPNG, not to mention Excel or MySQL.

As the number of converters and extractors came on the scene to create R-R data, it became clear that the T4 & Friends project provided value well beyond VMS and even well beyond situations where trend data was needed for system performance analysis. The more collectors that were built, the more it was clear that Readily-Reusable data in CSV format combined with tools such as TLViz and CSVPNG were truly universal in scope and available as helpers on any project involving trend data.

Tying things together: This blog sets out as a fundamental assumption that as we learn together how to better harness trend data our ability to create the future that we want for ourselves on this planet will be enhanced.

In upcoming posts, we will be looking into how we might use Ready-Reusability combined with the T4 downstream tools TLViz and CSVPNG to look at the trend data that is most important to us in our lives.

We are also going to be looking at how we might make our downstream tool capabilities even better as well as looking to how we can automate the creation of R-R data from an ever growing set of collectors and extractors reporting on the most important factors controlling the most important aspect of our lives.

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