Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Roll Your Own :-)

I’ve just finished working on a System Migration project that was one of the more complex I’ve done. The original application was running on Oracle 9i on Unix. So far so good. However the documentation for the (over 1000) tables was poor to say the least and in addition the system had been heavily modified in the 20 or so years it had been in existence. The application was never initially designed for Oracle and used rule based indexing.

On to the point of the article . It can be useful in circumstances such as these to explore the data from code rather than relying purely on SQL query tools. I created a couple of tools to help with this job, one being ODBCDataTool which I wrote in an old, but effective language called Omnis7. Despite it’s age Omnis is still a fast and flexible cross platform development tool and works well even under the latest Operating Systems such as Vista.

What I required from this tool was a nice simple interface to the tables and columns within the database and then to create schemas based on these tables within Omnis. I could then switch to code and select, combine, loop and manipulate data to my hearts content. It’s been a few months since I have used Omnis and I enjoyed using it again. The application took an evening to write and worked perfectly. As I designed it to work against any database which has an ODBC driver, it will probably surface again in the future as the need arises.

"When life seems chaotic, you don't need people giving you easy answers or cheap promises. There might not be any answers to your problems. What you need is a safe place where you can bounce with people who have taken some bad hops of their own." - Unknown

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