Dogs, Guard Dogs & Toblerones

Dogs, Guard Dogs & Toblerones

As is usually the case this blog post started life through a totally off topic conversation about whether stereotypes are always negative. My fiancee is currently taking a language degree and part of the course relates to languages & culture. When at first challenged with this question initially you DO think that stereotypes are negative; then you start to delve just a little deeper and you start to realise they are not always negative. Moreover they are actually an essential part of life as well as being an innate component of the learning process. We are born pretty much a blank slate and slowly over time our brain fills with experiences, observations and nuggets of information, it is these that inform our world view. One of the most amazing things about the human being is our adaptability, it is innate within us and allows us to hit the ground running in any of the different cultural situations we find ourselves in. There are some medical conditions that from a very early age prevent us from assimilating within a social group but in the main we are all able to cope with whatever the crucible of life throws at us. It is my belief that the blank slate approach is critical, if we had some level of pre-programming that allowed us to ‘fit in’ culturally I believe that our adaptability would be severely compromised, culture is also constantly evolving. I also believe that it would hamper our learning model to a huge degree.

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SAP Data Integrator: Configuring Data Stores

SAP Data Integrator: Configuring Data Stores.

One of the nice features of SAP Data Integrator that DTS just cannot compete with is how it deals with datastores at run time. For an overview let's think about how the process will normally work …

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Upsert [sic] with SAP Data Services? Don’t cry though ...

Upsert [sic] with SAP Data Services? Don’t cry though ...

So, recently I find myself heavily involved with SAP Data Services and data migrations, I know what you’re thinking … that's not real code! And you’re damn straight …. it isn’t, but I have always leaned heavily towards the data end of the spectrum rather than the UX end which is filled with sorcery, witch craft and more importantly users who are like little pixies with no respect for the sanctity of code; data is data though and it doesn’t press buttons marked ‘Nuclear Button, Do Not Press’ just for kicks. I thus don’t complain too much (ahem) when ETL jobs come my way. One of the biggest challenges with ETL in the SAP world is to keep everything down at the database level, it’s very easy to slip up and watch your execution times rattle up to unusable very quickly all because you used a feature for which there is no direct database equivalent and at times it is frustrating at how the simplest functions are not covered; bygones.

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An Expression of Interest

ETL

I don’t know about you, but just occasionally I stumble across something totally unknown to me in a product that I have been using in various incarnations for years and think “How did I not know about that?” I do DTS or SSIS or hell, just data migrations A LOT, seemingly at the moment more than I do ‘real development work’ although I endeavour on a daily basis to correct that imbalance. It therefore came as a shock to me to find that your ‘Data Sources’ in the connection manager windows have more properties than you would think, if you double click on a data source it's a case of:-

Yep… you can set the source and….. Well, that’s about it.

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ETL: How to consume result sets in DTS

ETL: How to consume result sets in DTS

So … about a month ago I was involved in a very complex DTS package. Amongst other things it involved looping through result sets of data, assigning the values found within each row into variable thus allowing these values to be utilised by subsequent transformations. Whilst not exactly rocket science I did find myself having a senior moment and scratching my head as to how this worked as it has been a while since I have had to do this. That's fine I thought, I mean…. When will I ever use it again? Seemingly three weeks later was the answer I should have used! Anyway I found myself resorting to the previous code in order to refresh my memory once more. It was a former colleague of mine who actually tuned me into blogging, his strap-line at that time was “because if I don’t write it down I’ll forget” and that pretty much is why I do it. There are other reasons of course but day by day I rely on good well written technical blogs and so I think it my duty to try and feedback into the community in the same way. We all benefit.

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Array Properties in SAP Design Studio Custom Components

Array Properties in SAP Design Studio Custom Components

Whilst coding a custom component for a complex SAP Design Studio Dashboard I was vaguely aware that coding one property per required column property was not exactly what you’d call, scalable! What I needed was to be able to capture arrays of data instead of just single properties, that way I could just have iterative code in the component which would take care of my component generation instead of these hardcoded single properties. In this instance I wanted to capture the colours for a given column header (for a data table). In my situation I had 10 headers but as this is a customisable component I guess it would be better to express this as ‘n’ rather than 10. Despite posts to the contrary this is indeed made possible by use of the Array data type.

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Change Data Sources at Run Time in SAP Design Studio

Change Data Sources at Run Time in SAP Design Studio

Recently whilst working on quite a complex SAP Design Studio Dashboard for a valued client we came across the situation whereby the custom graphs and charts that we had developed needed to be changed at run time. This seemed, and in reality was, quite simple although information was sparse and so it took a little bit of digging to find the answer to our solution.

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SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio: The New Generation Dashboard Solution from SAP

Universe

SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio enables application designers to create analysis applications and dashboards – based on universe data sources – for browsers and mobile devices (iPads, for example).

At Developer Solutions we are excited by this innovative application. Previous SAP Dashboard products were not supported on multiple platforms as they included Flash and Java technology. This new solution produces very clean HTML 5 based presentations. It is supported in all major browsers and can be deployed totally cross-platform. SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio can also be used locally and integrated into the SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence platform.

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The Mighty Raspberry Pi

Universe

According to Wikipedia, as of 8 June 2015, about five to six million Raspberry Pis have been sold. While already the fastest selling British personal computer, it has also shipped the second largest number of units behind the Amstrad PCW, the "Personal Computer Word-processor", which sold eight million.

Windows IoT running on The Raspberry Pi is different from Windows running on a PC or tablet. When it is first plugged in and booted– it essentially runs an app and the only app that is going to run, what’s known as headed mode. This startup app can be replaced with a Windows Universal App.

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Why I'm Sherlock

Universe

I’m lucky, very lucky. My life is full of many great things. I have the best fiancee and family a man could wish for, I have a dog that, uniquely within my family, thinks I’m the boss. I’m lucky enough to spend a great deal of time in Cornwall which has captured my heart in much the same way as my beloved Shropshire has. In addition I have a great job which means that on a daily basis I am Sherlock (When I’m not being Batman that is…).

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The Internet of Things

Universe

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects or "things" using electronics and software to collect and exchange information.

It’s not the future as everybody expects … it is now. It is all around us.

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Accept a Project is Never Completed

Universe

Additional thoughts on my recent blog about “Project Trust is a Two Way Thing”.

There are two clear ways to look at a project delivery.

• It is finished (only sign off when every detail has been addressed).

• It is at one of its iterative stages (accept that sign off is for each iteration).

One problem with ensuring a project is not signed off until completed is that this can take time, it takes testing, it takes user adoption and the delivery point can be extended with very simple small changes of specification or understanding. In fact, quite often users or customers are not included in the delivery until every single item has been checked and signed off.

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Project Trust is a Two Way Thing

Universe

A recent project has caused me to write this blog, although it is not a new phenomenon … I should have written this some years ago and forwarded the content when projects start to go astray.

There are several industry standard methods of controlling and managing projects used in project management today.

DSCallards are trained in two of these: PRINCE2 and Agile. In some ways these are conflicting methodologies.

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Developers Are A Peculiar Breed

Universe

“You do what?” comes the question in the kitchen at parties.

“I write software, I’m a programmer” comes the reply.

At which point the audience divides into two groups … those who glaze over and reach for another drink or wander off into the front room wiggling their hips as if they are about to start dancing, and those that are interested and start asking questions.

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Still Not Happy Using IT to Run Your Business?

Universe

As an IT company we meet many managers and owners of smaller businesses in the South West and it surprises me how many of them have not truly embraced IT as a business strategy. Ok, there are a lot of companies who run their business from within a spreadsheet, but that’s just one of the many tools available for analysing information. It is not an expandable future proofed technology.

Posted By Ray Kemp, Technical Director on 18th June,2015
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What If Your Software Developer Falls Under a Bus?

Universe

The question to ask in this situation is “what is the risk?” This is a true risk assessment exercise.

Developer Solutions are now being called in more and more to help businesses that have software skills that are reliant on one person. In most cases it is an IT solution that is crucial to the business.

Then it’s generating big data, the hundreds or thousands of data points that define any one journey through a website quickly accumulate.

Posted By Ray Kemp, Techncial Director on 18th June 2015
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Developer Solutions Embrace the Demise of Desktop Applications

Universe

Well now … there is a statement we could discuss?

Is there really a demise of dedicated desktop applications? Why would we say this without some foundation?

Posted By Ray Kemp, Technical Director, 10th June 2015
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When Your Old IT Application Fails

Universe

Ask yourself the question, “When your old IT application fails, who are you going to call?” If the answer is ‘"not sure", then please read on.

Posted By Ray Kemp, Technical Director, 9th April 2015
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Offshore to Devon?

Universe

Software development over the past twenty years, as predicted by Edward Yourdon’s seminal 1992 book “Decline and Fall of The American Programmer”, has seen a key migration of support services to external providers located in parts of the world that provide the cheapest resource.

From offshoring to nearshoring to reshoring, from co-sourcing to hybrishoring, experiences of service provision in software support have been variable. Offshoring and its variant combinations has suffered from logistical and time zone issues and cultural barriers increasing leading to the overall degredation of the experience and end result.*

Posted By Ray Kemp, Technical Director, 4th April 2015
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At Home, On the Train, Waiting for the Kids ...

Universe

Mobile devices are used everywhere, and that means EVERY business has to embrace the technology and extend their systems to incorporate the current single largest pervasive technology.

Businesses have traditionally built their operational foundations on paper-based processes; these are highly inefficient, cause slow turnaround times, errors and provide poor operational visibility. Mobile apps offer unprecedented opportunities for streamlining business processes - especially as they become more prolific.

Posted By Ray Kemp, Technical Director, 10th March 2015
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