Friday, August 18, 2006

One more old friend deserves a mention. . .

I’ve mentioned my good friend, collaborator, business associate, antagonist, instigator, and fellow revolutionary Greg Gusse here before.

The adventures he, and I, have had could fill a small book… then again if either of us wrote it, it would be a large book.

Why Greg today you ask? Well, I’ll tell you. I was on line last night IM’ing with some of the developers from the job when Greg messaged me… About the first thing he typed was “take a look at this .

So, of course I did.. and so should you! There’s a link on the page to a report on Alaska, and while there’s a ton of information on the state in the report. There are a number of beautiful pictures that capture the natural beauty of the place as well. Many of them were taken by Greg in his travels around the state.

If you find you like the pictures, visit his photography pages, listed under the ‘Some Friends Sites’ section in the right sidebar. There’s a ton of great pictures there.

He was as excited as I was last year when my first article got published… it was great to see him that excited.

We did a lot of great work together back in the day… we had a synergy… a synergy that fueled my creative side… and caused me to write some exceptional pieces of code. Well, actually he called them exceptional, and as we chatted I found myself agreeing with him.

He mentioned one piece specifically that I’d nearly forgotten, a tool that allowed the storage of formatted SQL (sequel) statements in a database for later retrieval and execution. It wasn’t exceptional, in and of, itself, but for what it made possible.

At the time I wrote it, it was more of a work around, than a crafted masterpiece. I hated trying to read long strings of SQL that had no format, or ‘structure’. So I wanted to build and test the SQL, assign it a name, and store it in a table for later retrieval.

The problem was, that with the line feeds, carriage returns and ‘tab’ characters, it would choke the runtime. So, I wrote a small, fast little ‘c_ClnStr’ routine that would remove all the unacceptable characters and then hand it off for execution.

Greg used that piece, in a project for a large bank in New York, and that app has been running, everyday now for six and a half years.

Today, with the fast rise in affordable databases, complete with triggers and stored procedures, it’s probably not nearly as useful as it once was. At the time though, it was a solution, to a problem, most folks hadn’t yet contemplated, at least in FoxPro.

There was also a report generation process I had, that allowed multiple ‘bands’ within a report, much in the same way you can drop multiple ‘frames’ in a CSS template today. Back then though, you had a Header, a detail and a footer band. That little app allowed multiple sections within the detail band and really let you treat data very differently and dynamically.

Almost all of that code is stored away somewhere, untouched in many years, mostly because the features available in the languages, became much better, and there were now simpler ways to do those things.

Many of the smaller functions that were part of those tools are still in my code “tool box”, and I still use many of them nearly every day. I guess I’m still a mechanic at heart, because there’s not a mechanic I know who would part with one of his favorite tools, unless it flat out did not work any longer.

I use some of them, so often; I sometimes forget they’re not part of the Visual FoxPro language. Most of those I’ve also ported to VB and C# .Net, or placed in my VFP library for .Net.

Talking to Greg, is almost always good for my soul… it was a rough week at work… long days, lots of pressure. It was made a bit easier because of the great team… but running into Greg, just as we were putting the finishing touches on a new deployment really was a nice finish to a long day!

So, if you haven’t yet… click the link to either his photography site or go check out the Report on Alaska, and make his day!

As always…. Thanks for stopping by!!

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Lorna said...

I am always amazed by people who take panoramic photos or photos of the beauty of nature. I appreciaate them myself, but would never think to do it. I thought the camera was invented so I could take pictures of people, and improved on so I could take pictures of my grandchildren.

Greg said...


Bill said...

Lorna - Well Greg never ceases to amaze me either! I have personal knowledge that the digital camera revolution was specifically designed to aid in your quest for garnschildren pictures!

Greg - Is that a blush I see? Take the kudos bro... you deserve them!