Custom Application Development

December 26, 2007  2:49 PM

Small Business and Business Intelligence

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

Business Intelligence — I have heard it referred to as an oxy-moron, but I think I’ll not go there.  Reading through the technical press one needs not look very far before coming upon writings about BI — implementation issues, how to’s, pitfalls and about BI project ROI.  There is much ado about BI – but what about BI for the small business?  Does it fit, and if so how?   Continued »

December 20, 2007  5:53 PM

Application Developer – User Communications – More Thoughts

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“Be careful what you ask for” could be another title for this post, yet another tale of communication mishap, misunderstanding and misconception during application development. Is it just my limited perspective, or could it really be that communication breakdowns are just – to be expected? Expect the unexpected might be my motto after my most recent experiences. This post comments on questions asked, answers received, and resulting misunderstanding(s). Continued »

December 14, 2007  11:53 AM

Developer – User Communications – Another Visit

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Once again I find myself writing about the value of having good communication between the application developer and the users expected to use the program for their day-to-day operations.  Two noteworthy instances of this value came to me once again – just yesterday.  Each incident was unique in its own way, but the common thread was clearly communication – either poor, incomplete, misunderstood or a combination of all.  In each case the end result has been delay in getting the task completed. Continued »

December 10, 2007  2:29 PM

Spreadsheets — the non-programmers database?

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I continue to be amazed at the number of spreadsheets which I am being asked to create as full-fledged database applications.  These spreadsheets have grown to be key ingredients to an organization, yet their maintenance and distribution are a major factor in day-to-day operational inefficiencies.  Yes, they serve a valuable purpose.  However, I believe that once a spreadsheet becomes a certain size (…not readily defineable), the continued use becomes more hindrance than efficient tool.  How might one establish that a given spreadsheet has reached its useful life?  Let us count the ways! Continued »

December 6, 2007  1:30 AM

Application User Interface – Busy or Sparse?

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Designing the user interface seems to be an exercise which requires both a combination of artistry and a thorough understanding of the business process that the interface serves.  I suspect that this is not a talent commonly found with a single programmer / developer.  While my preference in user interface design seems to lean toward the ultra-simplistic, I have become accustomed to the generally “fully loaded” user interfaces which we are afforded given the high resolution and large size monitors which have become so common.  As developers are given more and more screen real estate — I wonder where we find the balance between available screen real estate, and that which will optimize the business process. Continued »

December 3, 2007  12:11 PM

Software Implementations – An Investment of Time

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How many times do we hear “I don’t have time for that!” during a software implementation?   I’ve written some about the current implementations which I have going at this time, and some of the challenges, and as I’ve been writing I found myself being guilty of that very statement as it relates to an implementation of my own for which I have not found my “roundtuit”. 

What I refer to here is a piece of software which will help me in countless ways (…once I set it up and begin to use it!).  It will help me in creating this blog — yet it sits loaded on my laptop waiting for me to find the magic “time” to learn enough about it to make it useful to me.  That software waiting for me is Dragon Naturally Speaking, a voice recognition software that I saw demonstrated as part of an application some 8 months ago (…or maybe longer).  I was totally impressed and got myself a copy. Continued »

December 1, 2007  10:32 PM

The Challenges of Application Software Implementations

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Contrary to what my blog may be showing, I have not been on vacation this past week, nor have I been sick, nor have I been tending to many matters other than the current projects I have on my plate.  I could certainly use a vacation after this week!

 It’s said that timing is everything.  Well it would seem that my timing is off because I currently have two clients in the throws of new software implementations, and neither one has been without challenges.  For one thing, the challenges at each have been as different as their respective organizations. 

The main ingredient and common thread among these two implementations has been more along the line of user challenges than the technical issues of the software design or network implementation.  You know how users are – don’t you? Continued »

November 20, 2007  3:55 PM

Testing Application Changes – Test Data vs “Live”

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So you have completed making the small changes required in your application, you have tested, you have debugged, you’ve done “everything” right!  But alas, your application goes “live” and — problems!  Strange error messages are being generated faster than the eye can follow!  You find yourself saying “I’ve never seen that error before –”  (…or perhaps you’re thinking more along the lines of “…<expletive deleted>…”!  Whatever the thought process going on at that point, you have to act fast.  Continued »

November 13, 2007  3:07 AM

Expectations in Software Development

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

I’ve heard it said before that an expectation unfullfilled leads to upset, and I must honestly say that I buy into that 100%.  How many times have we begun using a new piece of software with an expectation (or 2 or 3) that was left unfulfilled once we started using the software?  I believe that I can say for certain that it has happened to each of us on at least one occasion – leaving us upset because the expectation (probably unrecognized and undefined beforehand) was not met. 

With this in mind, I would like to explore some thoughts regarding just what some unspoken expectations for software are. Continued »

November 11, 2007  1:11 PM

Technical Communities – A Valuable Resource

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Among the most valuable resources available over the internet are the various technical communities within which one can find and exchange information on any of the multitude of hot, cool and NOT so hot topics of interest to those involved in the technical side of providing IT services.  Whether one is an independent software developer such as I, or an individual contributor in a large IT organization, the value of these resources is immeasureable. 

In my own experience what I have found is that the most valuable of these on-line resources to me personally are those which are comprised of a group of individuals who have a somewhat narrow area of interest – specific perhaps to a product, or a very specific area of technology.  Continued »

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