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Adaptability September 22, 2008

Posted by faelix in ocity.
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I found this during work. I was looking for some simple way to add a prefix to every single item in a list or array. I had hoped there might be some built in function, but alas, no. However, my pathetic search string of “coldfusion modify every list item” to google gave me that article. I read it and realised it didn’t really give me what I wanted, so I proceeded to actually just put in some effort and write a one line loop.

That’s not what this post is about.

It’s about adapting to what you have, and making what you have adapt to what you need.
I’m a programmer. I work in web development, and have done so for about 95% of my work life.
I’ve worked for companies that will throw resources at you, give you whatever you need, whatever you want; and I’ve also worked for companies that give you a pen and notepad and expect you to maintain one of their main point of client contact applications.
I am now in my 6th year of developing in ColdFusion. While CF will run in linux and on macs, the companies I have worked for are typically Windows companies. My work machines have been windows machines, the system administrators have been MS administrators with a fear or aversion of linux. Couple this with a lack of desire to purchase or provide “strange” tools to developers, and one must learn adapt to maintains one’s effectiveness and efficiency. (Of course, that efficiency is not always for the benefit of the company – how else do you think I get to blog during the day?!)

The easyCF “tutorial” was written in 2003. I wonder how many people he has managed to inspire? And I also wonder how many people still would be sitting there, opening excel, waiting, rinsing and repeating?

In at least two memorable instances during my work career, I have encountered people who either do things manually when they could be (very simply and easily) automated, or refuse to share how they do something because of “job security”.

One was a requirement that I update (aka hardcode) in the file the ID of the latest promotion, so the latest one would appear each week, when the promotion was on. The ID came from a database, and I was even instructed to retrieve it from the database. So, the expectation was that I’d waste 5 minutes every Monday morning to do what I could code. I coded it. Never had to do it ever again. I could spend 5 more minutes eating my breakfast.

In my last job, I wrote a sql generator, that would general sql insert statements for me based on given criteria, or slight modifications to the generating code. Not the most brilliant coding, but it saved me hours of having to import data, or manually type data or sql. Sure, I could have made it also actually run the sql for me, however, there were many cases when I had no access to the db I needed to modify. So, I could generate the sql, save it to file and send it to others.

I also wrote a little utility that would, given an ID of a single, critical item, return me almost everything else I wanted to know about it. It would take that ID, select columns from a multitude of tables and subsequent tables and spit it all out on the screen for me. Prior to that, I would sit there and type query after query, over and over. I had way too many bugs to be investigating to be wasting my time typing queries.

I’ve got better things to do than do stuff manually, like blogging, or reading icanhascheezburger.

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Comments»

1. Carly - September 25, 2008

got to love those lol cats!


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