Take Advantage Of My Programming Experience
Some of the types of software I have written or helped to write are the following:
- Ldap administration programs in the C programming language for a university.
- Web applications in PHP and Perl/CGI with MySQL for several customers of Peltonweb.com.
- An electrical transformer specification and price quotation program written in Visual Basic 6 for transformer manufacturer.
- Perl programs for converting hundreds of Microsoft Word documentation files into HTML for a dealership accounting software company.
As you can see, I have written software in a broad variety of industries and subjects, most of it being in the last 6 years.
Generic Software Is OK. But Sometimes It Doesn't Fit The Bill
Most of us use generic, general purpose software on a daily basis to do most of our work. Writing
documentation, reading email, making spreadsheets, sharing data with our co-workers. And most common software products
work fine for these things. But as business grows and changes our data grows and changes, and we oftentimes find that
the software that worked fine yesterday is giving us a headache today for any number of reasons such as:
- My data has grown to a point where it is too large to easily manage and manipulate.
- My tasks have changed, so now my program no longer meets my needs.
- I've made some changes to my data, and now suddenly my software is crashing.
- My software vendor keeps raising prices, released a version I can't use, has gone out of business, etc.
- I am having a tough time sharing my data with my business partners because it's not in the right format, it's too
big, it needs to be sorted and filtered, etc.
- My software doesn't really fit my tasks. I am really tired of trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.
Yes, we have all had these problems at some point.
Introducing The Custom Web Application
What in the world did we do before web applications? Web applications have solved so many communication, data sharing,
workflow, and scalability problems for businesses. A web application is the perfect way to take widgets like text boxes,
check boxes, and radio buttons and put them together in a series of web pages in such a way that it creates a virtual
representation of how we want our work to flow. The data in these widgets is sent to a database, which can be designed
in a variety of ways, and can be read and modified by any competent developer. And when our business grows and changes,
and our data in turn grows and changes, no problem! We can scale up the database, we can modify the web application, we
can change our work flows, and business continues on with minimal interruption. Technology needs to be able to breathe
and grow just like our business does.
Communication At Its Finest
Effective communication is extremely critical to running an efficient business, and yet it is something that requires
reassessment and adjustments from time to time. Different businesses need different communication tools to share their
information, and nothing quite does the job like a well developed web application. Sales people, business-to-business
partners, clients, managers, and even computer programs can login securely to a web application from anywhere in the
world and read the data that you give them permission to access and/or modify. And it is this concept that is central to
effective communication, seamless integration, and automation.
It is easy to see how a web application can be customized to fit a need, and that there is really no packaged software in
existence that can perform very specific operations on data, share data with people world-wide, all while having
flexibility and scalability. Do you have a similar unique project that you'd love to
see come together? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
and let's talk about it! I love coming up with unique solutions to unique problems.
Web App Case Studies
The Commuter Tracking System
The Bannock Transportation Planning Organization for the Pocatello/Chubbuck
metropolitan area needed a online replacement for their Microsoft Excel spreadsheet method of tracking the daily
commutes of hundreds volunteers who signed up for their Portneuf Valley Bike To Work program. Using Perl/CGI programming
and MySQL, I developed an online system that allows company group leaders to sign up their co-workers, and for
participants to enter their daily commuting method into an online calendar. At the end of the Bike To Work Month, the
BTPO staff can run reports on all the data, and get totals for t-shirts and prizes that are distributed to participants
who use alternative transportation the most. The organization also has the ability to mass-email group leaders or all
participants at the click of a mouse.
The Automated Futures Paper Trader
Wouldn't it be cool if you could sit back and watch a program automatically paper trade stocks or futures? Most of the
time spent paper trading securities is all the price look-ups and number crunching involved, along with keeping all
the heaps of data straight and accurately recorded. A program and database can do this much faster and more accurately
than a human, with a lot less coffee and pencil chewing. So I set about writing a system that automatically downloads a
new set of futures and options quotes a few times a week from the Web, stores them in a database, and performs the
buying and selling transactions. I then developed a Web based system that displays the results of the transactions so
that it is easy to browse through the "winners" and "losers" among all the options. I haven't put this system to test
with real money yet, but it is definitely a good thing to create a system that provides market inteligence and answers
the "what if's" easily without having to wade through mountains of data, risking capital, or putting your faith in a
financial advisor who may or may not have your best interests in mind.