Quality Reads

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Holy Crap! My two greatest passions combined.

The two things I do spend money on. Sunglasses and music have just been combined! Check it out: http://oakley.com/o/o2794d/p8743 . I'm not someone who jumps on trends just because but in this instance I'll make an exception.
I'm very excited for these + ski season.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Calling All Flex/ColdFusion Coders

So I finally got the go-ahead to build my own development team today. I'll be building the first ERP system designed specifically for the small business auto leasing company. I'm looking for ColdFusion/Flex expert plus an HTML/CSS Design Coder. The system will be sold on a subscription basis and will feature mass integration with banks, remarketing organizations, and auto manufacturers. In addition, you can expect all the traditional ERP systems such as Sales and Marketing tracking features and accounting/finance functionality.
Exciting times...

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Trying New Things....(work in process)

I've decided to give a few new applications a look and I may as well share my experience with everyone in the process.
  • Windows Vista: I'm actually installing the OS right now on my other computer. I'll let you know how it goes once I get a little farther along.
  • FireFox v2: The full version is not ready for release yet but they are up to Release Candidate 3. So far so good. They've added a built in spell cheker (I only have IE on this machine). An excellent feature for web developers too lazy to connect their web apps to google's spell check web service. Also, there's greatly enhanced DOM/W3C compliance for all you AJAX developers out there. I don't even like to look at the websites I'm developing in version 2 (even though they look sweet) since so few other people are using it. It just pains me to switch back to IE.
  • ColdFusion version 8: No, I haven't actually had a chance to check it out but I've been given a few hints as to the bonus features we can all expect. For starters, PDF web documents/forms will be multi-functional. People will be able to input the information on the screen and submit the data like a regular HTML form OR print it out like a plain 'ol PDF. Sadly, I don't think there's been any advancement on including digital signatures. Spry (Adobe's AJAX framework) will have some hooks in dreamweaver making it very easy to pass information back and forth between the client and server-side CFC's. I'll continue to probe my source for more info but hopefully this will get you thinking.

Gotta focus on getting Vista up and running. I'll update this post when I found out more.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Developing Data Systems for the Small Business

Its an interesting situation being in a small company transitioning to medium/large volume of business. In general, employees are still performing a wide range of jobs (you wear many hats) and being stretched increasingly thin.
An up and coming small business rarely has a business application that meets their needs (if they are indeed up and coming). So, they need an app that encapsulates or replaces their existing technology and has the ability to scale with future percieved or unpercieved growth. I have a few suggestions for anyone starting a project to complete such an enterprise app:

1. Stay away from straight data entry applications. Yes, they're quick to create and effective for record keeping but they don't command a high usage rate. If your application produces something used in the day to day business operations, then the average employee will be compelled to use your application correctly and often (plus, they'll help you debug it).

2. Look for opportunistic data entry. There are many times when you can't get all the information you need in one format. Rather than default to a standard data entry app, get as much information as you can with every possible opportunity (w/in reason). For example, if you have to gather the colors for all the vehicles owned in a fleet, allow people to email vehicle information from within the application and just a add a color field.

3. Distribute the load of data entry to your suppliers and clients. Seems so simple but it gets overlooked time and time again. Allow your clients a standardize way to submit their orders to you, it will allow you to provide better turn around on their services while freeing up company man hours. Most of all, get your suppliers to provide you with all your invoices, supply information, etc. the way you need it. Most company still follow "the customer's always right" motto.

Above all else, cut out any monotonious/repeatitive tasks whenever possible.