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  • Open New Doors

    ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
    ** This thread discusses the Content article: Open New Doors **
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  • #2
    Open New Doors

    ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
    The article Open New Doors reminded my of a time not to long ago when I used to do similiar work on applications that I saw a need for. I liked to do things that actually helped users do their job quicker and more efficient. However, working for a big public company, the developer's hands have been tied by SOX. Where we just used to code something because we thought it was useful, now we cannot work on anything unless its been submitted by a user and gone through 2 approvals. Sometimes, the approvals can take weeks or even months and it does slow down your enthusiasm for a project. Even simple maintenance changes have to go through the same process. So while I agree that it is a benefit to both the developer and company to develop new things and to open new doors, these days, at least in some cases, the door may be blocked by something out of your control.

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    • #3
      Open New Doors

      ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
      Bob, you stated: In other words, stop saying, "No, we can't do that." Because if you continue saying "no," then someday they will walk up to you and say, "Hey, we're going with .NET and won't need your services after we've implemented it." I say that AS400/iSeries/i5/iWhatever programmers need to learn .NET skills for the very reason you stated above. Keep up your skills on the AS400, but learn new ones. I have been learning .NET in my spare time at home for quite some time (there's months where I don't have time to touch it, but I'm steadily learning). And, it actually occurred: there was a need at my place of work. In my annual review, I had to list goals, and I listed .NET training. My boss apologetically stated that with a limited training budget, it was doubtful that .NET was going to be an option, as it was not where our main software was located (the AS400). I stated "A goal is just a goal, and not an expectation. However, we are getting in a lot of ancillary systems running on Microsoft SQL servers. Soon we are going to need to pull data from those,and we'll need to know how". The week following that conversation, we had 2 requests to do just that: pull data from the SQL servers. So, I got VS2005 and wrote a small application to do so. It was just creating a .CSV file for import into other external applications where I couldn't create a direct link between the two to do the update. BUT: It is a start. Had I not been learning how to write code in .NET in my spare time, these projects would have gone to someone outside of my company. Now, I have the tool and can do just like you did, Bob. After hours I can come up with an application that will answer a need, showcasing the new technology, possibly integrating SQL and AS400 data, or just pulling AS400 data and presenting it in a GUI format. Perhaps a Web based application for our Intranet instead of a paper report?

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      • #4
        Open New Doors

        ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
        Bob, I think what you're describing is paying attention. Pay attention in meetings. Pay attention to how user's actually use their applications. Pay attention to what people say off the cuff when they meet you in the hallway. Working on projects that are not on the official project list can get you in trouble, though. I wrote a program in the 80's at one company to produce report totals on the screen. The manufacturing manager had mentioned, in passing me in the hallway, how the new Lotus 1-2-3 allows you to see numbers and totals on the screen. I went to my buddy in Finance to see this new program. It was running on one those "toys" my boss talked about. Not a real computer but a toy for the bean counters to play with. I wrote the totals display on the company's new S/38. I showed the manufacturing manager and he was very happy. I told my boss what I'd done and nearly got fired because that project should have gone through a lengthy request/approval process. In retrospect, I know I should have prorposed that program to my boss first instead of going directly to the manufacturing manager. I was young and eager to help. Now, I'm old and eager to help. But always pay attention when people talk about how the name-of-the-day i can't do something that .net can do. Show them otherwise. I agree with efasano that SOX has stifled innovation. It's driving companies to go with canned software with no customizations, or, to become private companies. Most organizations have some approvals process but SOX is horrible. Thanks Enron, Worldcom, et al. Tom.

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        • #5
          Open New Doors

          ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
          You said 'or, to become private companies'. Could we be so lucky? A company that could run on being a good company and on what works. Maybe one more of those in my lifetime, mine.

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          • #6
            Open New Doors

            ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
            Read Sarbanes-Oxley. It gets interesting, because the interpretations of the requirements have been exagerrated to the point of anal-retentiveness. Yogi Berra once said that he never said half the things they said he said, and the same is true of SOX. Companies are putting requirements in place that have little if any relationship to the law (caveat: IANAL). The tendency to go overboard has been implemented by so many firms that it has become the status quo. Consequently most people believe that the strict interpretation is what the law requires. This occurs without any examination of the text of the legislation. From what I have read of the text, SOX requires some accountability of all business procedures, but neglects to outline, the methods and means of the accountability. Consequently the methods are left to those who make a living out of specifying the compliance details. IMO, The greater the complexity of those details, the higher the fee. Dave

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            • #7
              Open New Doors

              ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
              This article could only be valid for a private company with underutilized RPG programmers. Oh, and perhaps they're underutilized because they say "We can't do that". It's not applicable to the rest of us, which is as far as I know is almost everyone. It's a real insult to say that RPG programmers say "We can't do" whatever it is that allegedly the .NET programmers will be more than happy to do. Little more than myth perpetuation. And yes, I bought The Modern RPG IV Language recently so I'm not anti-Cozzi or whatever. Just anti myth perpetuation. And lastly, I posted recently about this 80% maintenance crap. Little good it did. I'll find and repost later. rd

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              • #8
                Open New Doors

                ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
                It gets really interesting when you land in a shop where the managers say (to the execs and end users) "We can't do that". Dave

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                • #9
                  Open New Doors

                  ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
                  And once we get into political land, Dave, all bets are off. IT will say here's our budget, here's what has been budgeted, we can't get to that till next budget cycle, and a department will put in their own Windows departmental solution. If they had the money and it was that important, why didn't it just get put in IT's budget to do it? Definitely lots of politics going on. And I've seen boneheaded IT answers to business where no solution is provided because of some master plan to be unfolded as some point. So no confidence results in a department hatching their own more immediate plan. But all of this is way above any RPG programmer's abilty to provide a solution to business need posed, including using commercial software on other systems as part of the solution when appropriate. A good example is Thomas' column where he cites a vendor who promised a $20,000 job, got it, took the money, then said it would cost $100,000. On the other hand, IT usually gives much more honest assessments. So it's more "we can't do that for $20,000". Neither could they. rd

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                  • #10
                    Open New Doors

                    ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
                    Ok, what is maintenance programming? Bug fixes for one. With good software development, interaction with the business users on requirements and specifications, excellent programming, even better testing and the infrastructure to do it in, bugs are kept to a minimum but they still happen. How much "maintenance" programming is fixing bugs? I would say 1-2% tops where a program is checked out to fix a bug. The other classic maintenance programming scenario is making necessary alterations to logic to meet legal or business requirements for example. But a good software development practice softcodes any anticipated value changes. Any program that has a list of IF code = X or code = Y or code = Z and a mod to add or code = T and later another mod that comments out the code = Y and adds if code = U is a cry for soft coding in a configuration table. And that's often what's done by RPG programmers. I posted a .NET failure by a major IT vendor not long ago where the system had to be modified to change a tax percentage value and it still wasn't done six months later, causing a requirement to manually process. So anyone waving Windows and .NET around as some kind of magic panacea because it's "new" development can stop waving. So with frequent use of soft coded values tables in our programming much of classic "maintenance" programming is eliminated. How much remains? Some amount, although I can't remember the last time I made such a change. I would say less than bug fixes as far as checking out and modifying, but perhaps occasionally some significant module needs to be written to accomplish new requirements. But all in all, "maintenance" programming in the classic sense is just a few percent of programming effort. Now what's the rest of the 80%? Innovation. Business rules. New business needs. Streamlining. Eliminating operational mistakes. Handling exceptions. Handling them better. Automating processing. And on and on. Every day. Constantly. Backlogs. Software as innovation. Embedded in current RPG processes? Of course. "Maintenence" programming? Only if what you are maintaining is growth and excellence in a business run on the iseries. rd

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                    • #11
                      Open New Doors

                      ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
                      Bob, What did you mean by: "Y2K (which I blame for nearly destroying our industry)."? Mary Ann

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                      • #12
                        Open New Doors

                        ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
                        My guess is: the greed of some consultants and the absolute ridiculous rates proposed for 2k remediation, resulted in a not so secure life for most after the fact.

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                        • #13
                          Open New Doors

                          ** This thread discusses the article: Open New Doors **
                          Users are an ungrateful bunch. On the occasion where you do go out of your way to address a problem they invariably say, "Gee thanks for the 300 page report but can you interface it with with the flux capacitor portal on the customer's intranet ?"

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