Last minute featurettes

Did I say that we’re heading for a release? This is always an exciting time in the office. (Especially when one crucial member of staff was off for two days after an after-show party. I have my suspicions about whether said tin man was in bed with a hangover or something else, but I hope he had a lovely time either way.)

It’s especially challenging at the moment as David came in looking somewhat stressed and very excited.He has made a massive sale (he hopes) to a whole group of GP practices, but (there’s always a “but” isn’t there) they have an extra set of financial issues. They have been using some other package, and want to be able to export all the current data from package X and put it into our package (hitherto not given a name but let us call it “VAT’s up Doc”). And their database and our database have some differences of opinion.

Now Ian, lovely Ian, treasures databases as if they were his third child (and more than his five-a-side football team). He is happy when thinking of such things as efficient sorting tables and effective queries. I don’t talk to him much about it, but occasionally I hear snippets as I go by. Apparently incorporating this other system means a total restructuring of the data tables (whatever that implies). I, of course, want to get my filthy, little hands on the interface and see how their work method compares to our work method. But I won’t get a chance. They are pulling Ian out of the development push to the release date so he can restructure his tables. Worse than that, if he restructures the data tables every other transaction that we use on the data will have to be checked, tested, and possibly rewritten. So there are some heartfelt meetings going on as to how they’re going to organise the development effort and what features are going to be cut so they can squeeze in the restructure and whether the sale is absolutely guaranteed with a signed contract with plenty of exciting trailing zeroes.

And I know that they will cut it and hack it and do whatever it takes and it will require some front end re-design to make it work and no-one will have the time or effort available to ensure that the re-design is going to be user-friendly because what matters is that the transfer is going to work first time.

Oh well. At least I know it’s doomed and I understand why. And at least there’s something fairly stable there for them to hack about with. And looking on the really bright side of life, this does mean that David won’t put any other featurettes in.

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