While BellHawk work-in-process tracking and materials tracking and traceability system can be run stand-alone, there is often the need to exchange data with other systems to avoid duplicate data entry.
Running software such as BellHawk in the Cloud has many advantages, whether it is being run on computers at a secure data center managed by a third party, or is being run at a client's data center, or on a private Cloud based server.
The disadvantage is that this makes the BellHawk database inaccessible for implementing automated data exchange interfaces with systems such as ERP and accounting systems or for clients creating custom reports.
Skilled programmers could use the BellHawk web-services interface to exchange data with BellHawk but for many users and, even their IT departments, this is way too complicated.
Also, this interface is only documented at a code level.
As a result, the DEX data exchange interface was developed to make it easy to exchange data with BellHawk without needing to understand the intricacies of the BellHawk database or the BellHawk web-services interface.
The DEX interface essentially mirrors the data tables in the BellHawk database into a local SQL Server database, which is formatted such as to be user friendly for interface and report creators.
This overcomes a major disadvantage of directly using the BellHawk database, which is structured for rapid response to many users doing barcode scanning at the same time. This structure, while good for rapid data capture, is not very user friendly for interface or report implementation. Also, the DEX interface is well documented whereas the structure of the BellHawk database is only documented by means of the HLDO (High Level Data Object) definitions used by BellHawk to communicate with its database.
Data written into specific tables within the DEX database, such as for Items or Work Orders, will be automatically be transferred to the BellHawk database. Similarly, data captured by BellHawk transactions are automatically made available in specific tables within the DEX database.
Uses of the DEX interface include: