WARNING TO NON-TECHNICAL TYPES – BORING AND PARTIALLY INCOMPREHENSIBLE!

Well day two at the large communications company is over. Still no computer but at least I hooked up with a couple of guys who actually seem to work on the Coldfusion stuff. Especially compared to the guy I met yesterday. I got walked through the process and watched a bug being fixed. Only three different releases in four different environments to support. The sad part about the bug is that it was already “fixed” once. The problem was when a submit button was pressed under certain conditions the page blew up. Instead of figuring out why the developer just said under this condition don’t allow a submit. Wrong solution. At the same time the real solution was scary. I won’t go in to details because you will fall asleep but I’ll say that this is a very fragile system. Seems to have been built by a bunch of amateur CF and Oracle developers and now we get to deal with things like database tables with no primary keys. This causes a lot of values to be hard coded in the system, including values that can EXPIRE over time. That was the root cause of today’s problem. An ID for a part of the company had changed.

I also got to sit in on a phone call about tonight’s tomorrow’s code release and then got a walk through of the process. It includes developers downloading the release files and manually inspecting to be sure their changes are in place. During the walk through, which was just a random example for me, we found an error in a file! Code is still being edited today for release to production tomorrow. I don’t think the idea of a code freeze exists here. To my colleagues from LibreDigital/NewsStand I salute how “mature” our process was. Crap, I may have to put my manager hat on in a little bit and explain how screwed up this is. I am not saying we didn’t do some of this but then again people’s pay didn’t depend on our code either.

No one works in the office five days a week which gives me hope that if I can prove my worth in six months I may be able to work from Smithville and come up here once a week or less. So far all meetings have been held on the phone as the team is spread across the country. Even get togethers between two people in the same building are done on-line. One CF developer, the cause of the earlier problem, works from San Antonio.

Not to sound too full of myself but I think I am going to start kicking ass once I get the process and tools down. (OK, so I sound full of myself) I’ll be getting handed a piece no one else is working on so I’ll have some autonomy. Strangely enough it is called NSR which to me means NewsStand Reader. I have to stop for a few milliseconds every time I hear that and translate. Essentially the whole tool is a reporting system which means learning the database as well. Fortunately it is Oracle so I understand the version of SQL. Unfortunately it is a Windows only world.

Today I also started the “on boarding” process. Gave the information to the person in charge of the team that allowed her to request a company ID for me. Once I get that I can complete step two and once that is done step three, etc., etc., etc. Of course the information I gave her is stuff the company that placed me here could have given them last week but…

I suspect tomorrow will be deadly dull again as at least one, if not both of the guys I was working with today will not be in.

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