I’ve not updated in a long time. I guess for some that’s fine, for others, you’ve gone away because I don’t. For those who both still view and still care, I think I should be more diligent about letting you know I’m alive.
I’ve not been up to much, either. Just code monkey mayhem and mishaps. I’ve done some extraordinary things with Excel, but also had a few setbacks in web development, so in IT terms, I think I’m ahead. Not by much, but a bit.
I wrote an Excel macro which compares a customer’s record of their open orders to us with our record of their open orders. I’ve done this several times, but every time I do it, I get a bit better at it. A month or so ago, I wrote one which takes a text file, converts it to an Excel spreadsheet, formats columns, removes columns, freezes the top row and adds autofiltering, removes unnecessary rows, and then goes out and gets a list of customer parts from a separate file in a separate network location. It pulls that data back onto its own sheet, then adds the data from a couple of its columns to the original sheet. Once completed it colors all the rows based on the PO number so the CSR using the spreadsheet has visual cues of changes in PO number. She can verify the orders are in the system or not, get the missing ones in, and we have a happier customer.
Easy peasy, mac-‘n’-cheesy.
Next came a macro to do something similar, but instead of coloring the rows, the CSR wanted me to add some comments to a particular field. If the order is open, mark it such; if the quantities are different, mark it as possible partial shipment. If the order’s not on our report, mark it as a probable shipment. In all cases where possible, add our sales order number and the customer’s requested date. The CSR using this one is a bit of a dinosaur, “old school” he likes to be called. He does a lot of stuff with a pen and paper, and so this was taking him HOURS to get through. The macro does the job in something like forty seconds. Win.
Next up, create one for one of the company’s biggest customers which compares their open order records to ours. Flag those missing on both sides – that is, if it’s on our report and not theirs, it might mean they canceled the order without telling us. If it’s not on our report but is on theirs, could be a change of some kind. Maybe they consolidated orders for a later date, so the quantities no longer match. Maybe they just changed the date. Either way, flag it. If we find it, and all is well, take it off the sheet. Add our sales order to their sheet, then move the results to a separate workbook and save it, close the macro book without saving it (standard practice for all my macros so they don’t get messed up inadvertently).
The last big project I got was sneaked onto my project list by my boss while I was on vacation. Dirty pool, in my opinion, but he’s the boss, so what can I do? I had to add multiple location functionality to our return tracking and request system, so people from other locations could use it and it would automatically number the request for return according to the location entering it.
I sweated blood about that. Then I had a major mental breakthrough of some kind, and realized this wouldn’t be that hard. Then I dug into it and realized it would be harder than I thought, but not as hard as I feared. And it’s done and in test right now.
I also discovered a startling thing about myself: When I get home from work, I can’t program. I open my IDE (that’s “integrated development environment” for those who aren’t code monkeys) and stare at the blinking cursor, much the same as a writer opens their electronic pen of choice and stares at the blinking cursor. Very strange. I thought I was just a hack, lousy programmer. But then, someone formally trained and making a living doing this, says he’s the same way, and it’s terrible. I felt better, but my friend Bryce doesn’t have this problem. He does side projects all the time.
What sucks about this most is, I could maybe make a second income writing freelance software stuff on the side. Since I can’t seem to break inertia on writing anymore, I thought maybe writing software would sharpen my skills, make me a bit better at my job, and maybe loosen up the ol’ writing muscles.
Nothin’ doin’. I not only have no idea why, but right now, don’t really care either. Sad.
So…how’s it by you?