Coming Along, At Last!


Well, I think I’m actually learning this computer programming stuff. It’s no where near as much fun as writing, and I miss that dearly, but it’s actually starting to stick in my gray matter, I think.

On Friday, I was trying to knock out a quick solution for my boss and get one of the old pages we have, with the yucky, messy code, all fixed up and put into our nice, easier to maintain technology. In truth, what I should be doing is building an N-tiered application base and utilizing that for all future projects, but that’s just out of my reach. If you don’t know what all that means, don’t worry – I don’t either or I’d have this all in hand.

So anyway, I thought the page would be quick and dirty and get done in a couple of hours. When 5:30PM rolled around and I was calling it quits – still without the solution in hand – I knew I’d been mistaken. But I was determined not to lose on this thing. So I thought and prayed about it all the way home.

But, in the first ten minutes of the trip home, the answer suddenly slapped me upside the head and I knew exactly what to do. I knew not only what to do, but how. So I thought on it all the way home. And when I got home, I spent maybe 30 or 40 minutes stitching the base code together to make the solution do what I wanted. I slapped a quick test page together and ran the code. After fiddling with my home version of FireFox, which has a code blocker applied, I saw it worked perfectly.

I emailed the code to myself and there it will be on Monday when I need it. I thought about breaking out my work laptop and connecting up – we have the new, high-speed access, after all – but passed in favor of just being content to know I did it. And, I will have yet another feather in my cap, fixing an outdated page left to me. Easier to maintain, easier to put together, and if the database from which the data comes is ever updated to a modern or server-based solution, only the access control will have to be changed.

And that’s the only problem I have left to conquer, really. How can I provide a data access layer so my applications will all draw from it, use that information rather than each needing their own access controls which will all break if there’s a data change, and be able to go forward using that DAL to make sure I have only ONE place to update when major data changes are made?

For now, however, the Major Scary Huge Project is looming, hereafter to be known as Appmaggedon. When it’s finished I can think about other things, and I can say with confidence I’m a developer.

I’ll get there. I just hope I can get there before the deadline gets here.

How was your weekend? Did you do anything cool/fun/interesting?

-jdt-

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3 thoughts on “Coming Along, At Last!

  1. Your experience is right out the book “Imagine – How Creativity Works” by Jonah Lehrer. He talks about one way to stir creativity is to be away from the problem for a while. For you, it was driving home . . . cool. This weekend we saw Skyfall with comp theater tickets we got when Avengers blacked out for over 30 minutes times and Harkins theater felt guilty. It was a truly great adventerous (guy film) and thoughtful (chick flick kind of) movie and it was FREE. So, good weekend 🙂

    Interesting. Unfortunately, I can state emphatically it doesn’t always work. Most times it won’t, actually. Today was one example. Glad you had a good weekend!

  2. Are you looking to basically provide a service on top of the database to interact with your various business applications? There should probably already be something like that for .net.

    More or less, yeah. There are several applications all built on some pretty poorly coded ASP classic. What I’m doing is essentially trying to improve and modernize those things. They’re ASP(.NET) displays of database data. Oh, and the databases are all MS Access 2003 files, too. Why? Yeah, me too. So I have to find ways to overcome those limitations. My weakness in coding means I can’t solve the problems and offer the same solutions just yet. For instance, right now I’m facing a situation where I can’t seem to locate one of the records in the database. I know it’s there; I put it there manually and can draw it out with SQL code. But when I substitute the hard values with variables on the ASP page, it won’t find them. Meanwhile, the customer has an Authorization To Return request pending and we can’t enter it because we can’t get the customer out of the database…

    In PHP, there are several frameworks that abstract away the database, so you can basically swap out the database with no other changes to the code, other than the “establish the database connection” stuff.

    I’m sure — positive — there are ways to do this in .NET. I simply don’t know what they are. But this is the goal I’m working toward. I also am hoping to build services so I can replace our nightly Excel and Access macros with other methods — Windows services, I hope — which take the same text files and write them directly into the databases which are then utilized by the aforementioned ASP pages for display to other facilities personnel. So far, though, no luck.

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