22 Jun 2002 mattr   » (Journeyer)

Day job or
Adventures in Sneaky Open Source Advocacy

But only because I have no choice but to be sneaky.

I think the web-based weekly report project is nearing completion. So, of course, that means it's time for me to write a requirements document for it. Interesting, eh? Maybe I'm also sneaking in the 'bad' parts of open source software, projects begun with minimal direction, just a thought, an idea... But hey it works, to a point.

There was a need and an idea. We were given the go-ahead to see what we could do, without using any company resources. I started with what I knew, still learning daily as I went along. A couple of sitdowns, looking at the project with my boss, has refined the idea. Now that we think we have it, we'll "make it official," so to speak, with some documentation.

He gave me an example to go by, so I'll have to take another few glances at that. I hope to be able to emphasize the strengths of the open source stuff used in the solution, but I imagine a lot of it won't be within the scope of a requirements document. There is at least the one: "...without using any company resources." I assume that meant not to place additional demands on our web team, which we have avoided. My salary the past little while has paid for its development, but our department is well-staffed and the payoff will be significant, I think.

Where once several someones were kept busy cutting and pasting Word documents that had been emailed to them (looking back at my old ones, probably 40k average size) those same someones will now click a button. The database right now isn't even 25k (granted, only a handful of people have been using it, more or less as beta testers).

In addition, these serve to inform supervisors of problems employees might be having. We decided to go with an email notification system rather than including that in the report, so our solution facilitates rapid response to any issue an employee may have.

So now to document it. Well, not now, but you know.

Another mini-project to follow will involve keeping us under a maximum number of users at a particular web-based resource we're using in technical support.

In other semi-related news, another department (just barely another department, but it is) is also making use of open source software at the Day Job, putting together some web-based training material. The other Linux freak is over there with his Mandrake laptop, doing graphics with the GIMP, and writing the HTML in something other than vi(m), which he really oughta work on... -grin- A potential convert still harbors a desire to use ASP and a Windows server. Not sure how they'll handle that, what 'resources' are available. I told him the other day that PHP had passed ASP in the number of servers running it...

That's enough for now.

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