This thesis describes a distributed information system implementation, using the information replication technology, available in the SQL Server 6.5 software package produced by Microsoft Corporation.
Globally, the information system is made of a centralised system and of a kiosk network with multimedia capabilities, placed in strategic public access p1aces. The information is maintained in the central system and then distributed to each kiosk in the network, by replication.
The information that goes through the system is related to the real estate business. It can represent several types of real estate, for sell or for lease, belonging or not to an enterprise, under construction, brand-new or used. The choice of real estate business information, on one hand, has served to satisfy a set ofrequirements ofa real world project and, on the other, to the case study presented in this thesis. This study could be applied to another type of information, related to another activity, like for example, an information system for selling or renting in the automobile business.
This dissertation is a contribution to the study, project and development of a software system, for information and applications propagation to multimedia kiosks. The main purpose of this dissertation was to evaluate the replication technology available in the software package above mentioned. On every kiosk, there are very user-friendly applications to visualise the real estate information, namely images and auxiliary textual descriptions, with audio attendance. If the user is interested in a certain real estate, he/she can leave his/her data for later contact. This contact information is introduced in the kiosk and, using the same replication technology, is propagated to the central system. Although the replication functionality has a one-way orientation, it has been possible to send information in both ways: from the central system to kiosks (for real estates) and from kiosks to the central system (for user contacts).
From the analysis made to the SQL Server replication implementation, the conclusion was that this technology did not produced good results, in a system with a very high number of networked kiosks. This replication implementation presented scalability problems for more than fifty kiosks. The scalability problem was identified and an altemative way of implementation was presented, in order to avoid it. In practical terms, this problem was solved with additional equipment, consequently increasing costs and maintenance complexity.