Re: Senior Developer looking for your asst in employmt issue (not job seeking!)

From: Timo (timo_at_noneofyer.biz)
Date: 05/08/04

  • Next message: furkat: "Re: UDF as field data source"
    Date: Sat, 8 May 2021 12:45:28 -0400
    

    Xavier,
    In light of your boss's instructions to you to use "a Microsoft
    tool" and his express desire to get "rid" of the Access
    application, his bringing in FileMaker Pro's putative RAD
    capabilities and his own skills with that tool as evidence of your
    alleged incompetence is both irrelevant and unfair. FileMaker is
    not a Microsoft tool. And what are the Microsoft counterparts to
    FileMaker Pro? Access and FoxPro.

    Where you seem to me to have miscalculated, is in thinking you
    could successfully convert in only 5 man-weeks (plus whatever
    overtime your were willing to work) a project of the described
    scope: 8 tabbed pages containing ~15 controls each, bound to a 40-
    table SQL Server database via undocumented client-side queries,
    where the original application apparently had bugs or was not
    functioning as expected. It could be that some of those queries
    were flawed and would require investigation. Was there any client-
    side enforcement of business rules? Was the server enforcing the
    referential integrity?

    Perhaps you would have had a slighly greater chance of timely
    success by converting the thing to Access ADP. That would have let
    you focus on the logic of the app without having to spend so much
    time on the custom databinding classes and presentation layer. But
    to begin to judge the situation really requires that we know if
    your boss wanted to get rid of Access entirely, or simply wanted
    to get rid of the problems arising from the original two-tiered
    client-side implementation, whatever those problems were.

    However, it's quite evident to me, from your description of the
    situation, that you are not an incompetent developer. If there is
    incompetency to be found in this situation, it is in the arbitrary
    deadline of 5 man-weeks to fix a broken application of this scope.
    Regards
    Timo
    P.S. I've been developing multi-user database applications since
    1985 (shared CPU mainframe with dumb terminals, DOS shared-file
    networked apps, networked Access.MDB apps, Access ADP against SQL
    Server, VB 2-tier and 3-tier client-server apps against Oracle and
    SQL Server, and most recently .NET WinForms and ASP.NET. Also
    earning today only about 35% of what I earned throughout the
    1990s.

    In article <eKQxY64MEHA.3348@TK2MSFTNGP09.phx.gbl>,
    suggestion@x2sw.com writes...
    >Community,
    >
    >I am dealing with a tough employment issue in which a supervisor - who is
    >not a developer - is insisting that I am incompetent as a basis for my
    >dismissal from a public entity (a California school district). Wondering if
    >you'd mind sharing any thoughts you might have as a basis for my argument?
    >There are no other developers in the midst who can substantiate what I have
    >to say vs. my supervisor.
    >
    >I've been working professionally as a developer since 1993. I have advanced
    >experience with Visual Basic versions 3 through 6, Access versions 1.1 to
    >2000, SQL Server versions 4 to 2000, the .NET platform, Sybase, ASP 3 and 4.
    >I have consulted for the United States Navy, Bankamerica Mortgage,
    >Neutrogena, express.com, SunAmerica. In 2000 I even marketed a shareware
    >product developed in VB, called Acidizer. I am no longer marketing or even
    >distributing it, but there are still links for it all over the Web.
    >
    >I began employment in my current situation on June 25, 2003. Prior to
    >starting, I interviewed with my supervisor in April, who told me then that
    >he had an Access application that he needed to rid himself of, and that
    >whichever new platform could be used wasn't important to him as long as it
    >was a Microsoft tool and worked successfully.
    >
    >I learned immediately that this conversion project needed to take place by
    >August 1, 2003 - a mere five weeks. As it turned out, it was an Access
    >front end linked to a SQL Server database. It was shared on the local area
    >network by about twelve people. There were no written technical
    >specifications or user manual. The SQL Server database consisted of about
    >forty tables with foreign key relationships.
    >
    >I proposed to rebuild the front end as an ASP.NET application, mainly to
    >reap in the benefits of a thin client. I sought to mirror the existing
    >design to lower the learning curve. The existing design consisted of one
    >form with a tab control containing several tab pages (maybe 8) and those
    >pages containing maybe 15 controls each, all data bound to ODBC linked
    >tables (this was not an Access ADP project) and a gaggle of slow-running
    >local queries. My liason for usability testing was a novice user in another
    >department who still, at this point, had a lot of trouble understanding
    >things like data relationships.
    >
    >I made assurances to my supervisor to meet the deadline, sink or swim. I
    >set to meet my deadline by developing an ASP.NET object class to mirror
    >Access data binding. I developed ASP.NET containers and controls with the
    >same properties and functions as the Access object model. Subforms!!!
    >Figured out ways to make data binding and error reporting work with so many
    >controls and subforms in an ASP.NET page all at once.
    >
    >I didn't make the deadline, despite working plenty of unpaid overtime. I
    >hadn't had much time to understand how the current application was used -
    >basically, the users were used to having eight full tabs of data available
    >to them at all times without any refreshing, and I couldn't incorporate this
    >into a web interface without lots of changes. About three weeks later, I
    >ended up just stabilizing the Access application (after all that) and it's
    >been purring ever since.
    >
    >My questions, if you please:
    >
    >1) Could this have been accomplished using any Microsoft development
    >platform in just five weeks, without me having any familiarity with the user
    >base, the data relationships on the back end, the idiosyncracies of the
    >front end; also short of testing, training, and user acceptance?
    >
    >2) My supervisor's experience is in network technologies and not
    >development. He's a director, but has limited management training and no
    >exposure to the "developer community." What is the likelihood that he could
    >really understand the ramifications of converting (porting) a client-server
    >application?
    >
    >3) My supervisor has offered that he could have re-built the entire
    >application -by himself - in Filemaker Pro over the course of a weekend.
    >Based on what you've read, what would be the likelihood of such, even for an
    >experienced developer?
    >
    >4) Did I act in good faith, or would you say that I am incompetent?
    >
    >If you choose to give your frank response, please share a name and telephone
    >number if that's okay. I just want to make sure that management knows that
    >there are real people connected to my evidence.
    >
    >Thanks and best wishes. My hearing's on May 13, 2004.
    >
    >
    >Xavier Jefferson
    >Hit reply, or respond to [x](a)[v]{i}(e)[r]{j} at yahoo.dot.com
    >
    >
    >


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