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PC Software Advice - Software Advice for Home and Small Business

Personal

Programming

Software

[To be completed later]

Code Samples


PC Software Advice

Personal 

Hi!

My name is Liam O'Brien.  Thank you for visiting!  The site is under construction, so keep coming back--you're sure to find something of interest.

So, who am I, and what is this website all about?  I'm a computer programmer who has a great interest in software that makes our lives easier.  I want others to benefit from what I've learned, and so I've developed PC Software Advice to share my knowledge and experience.

I have been using computers since the early 1980's when the first IBM PC became available.  I had the privilege of working at that time with a very innovative company called Wang Laboratories where I used their Wang PC.  This began my interest in personal computers, programming and software,  which I've outlined below. 

If you require more specific details of my computing experience and my career to date, please check out my CV/Resume page.

Programming

In Wang I first learned a word processing language called "Glossary" and worked with one of the first spreadsheet programs,  called MS Multiplan. This in turn lead to learning Lotus 1-2-3 and its macro programming language. Those were interesting and innovative days in the PC world. Little did I know what was coming!

Following this, I spent five years programming in DIBOL on a VAX/VMS platform. This was a great working experience as I enjoyed coding and the work was very fulfiling. (While working for this company, I bought an  IBM PC 8086XT, my first home computer! More about this later.)

In my next job, I learned 4th Dimension database programming on the Macintosh. This was my introduction to relational database design and rapid application development.

Also at this company, I learned Transact-SQL on a Sybase database and this opened up a number of future opportunites to develop my skills both on Sybase and SQL Server from Microsoft.

In the following company, because of their heavy use of Microsoft Excel, I had the opportunity to learn Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and one of my code samples below is written in VBA.

Software

[To be completed later]

Code Samples

Over the years I have written much code which is proprietary and cannot be released (mostly SQL), but below I have included some code samples that I completed while working at my last two companies. They were written for my own benefit to make my job easier.

The first three samples use code from a text preprocessor called PPWizard created by Dennis Bareis MVP, and the last is done in VBA (Excel).

PPWizard by default creates HTML output, but it can be used for any type of  text output, as in the cases below, generating Sybase Transact-SQL statements and Unix shell scripting commands.

  • Import Sybase table (72k) - Script designed to create individual "insert" statements to overcome difficulties with problem data that could not be handled by the "bcp" (bulk-copy) utility.

    This script is a good example of the templating power of PPWizard, where using only a few functions can generate thousands of lines of SQL code, as required.
  • BatchSQL Utility (43k) - A script creating shell lines  to run a utility for testing Sybase "Go-Live" and "Backout" installs.

    During go-live testing it was required to run the scriptlist against copies of all the live databases. This was tedious, repetitious and prone to error, so I wrote this script to "automate" the steps as much as possible, thus ensuring correct testing at a critical time in the project life-cycle.
  • Clawback (22k) - A script for updating data in a Sybase database based on parameters supplied in a text file and related fields extracted via ODBC from the database.

    I used this script in a support role, where prior to this, other members of the support department used "search and replace" on a basic template to produce the correct output. This script has built-in error checking and also produces consistent output.
  • Import Text into SQL Server (55k) - This script takes a text file created by Cratchit timekeeping utility (used to record my time on support calls) and generates SQL statements that in turn can be run against a second database as "insert" SQL statements.

    A tedious daily chore of inputting my time into a front-end application is reduced to pasting the ouptut of a VBA script into Query Analyser, copying the output from this into another window which updates the front-end database. A great time-saver!