Wednesday, December 21, 2005

A great diagnostic tool - and it's FREE

Another great tool that I like to use is called TCPView by Sysinternals. It's a windows-based program that displays ALL of the port activity on your box. It traps the data in real-time so as ports open, the lines turn green and as the ports are no longer used, they turn red.

So, fire up workflow and watch the various ports come and go!

Monday, December 19, 2005

This is the week for travel

This is probably one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. Usually, I try to find ways to avoid traveling by taking vacation days.

This year is different.

My travel week started out yesterday by flying to Washington DC. Then today, off to Portland, Oregon. On Wednesday, I return to Washington DC. On Thursday, it's back home again in Orlando, FL.

Of course, this isn't the end of my holiday/work travel schedule.

Then, there is the "TRUE" holiday travel. I plan to visit my Dad on Christmas day. So, this is a 10 hour 500 plus mile roundtrip that I'll start on Christmas Eve and return home on Christmas day.

On Monday, 26 DEC, I'll drive to Valdosta to pick up my son for visitation the last week of December. This is a round trip of 560 miles and about 11 hours or so.

I return him to Valdosta on 02 JAN. But, I'll fly him there in a Cessna 172, so that will only take 4.5 hours total.

Totals for commercial air travel:

Orlando to Washington DC - 760 miles (2 hours)
Washington DC to Portland - 2350 miles (5.5 hours nonstop)
Portland to Washington DC - 2350 miles (6 hours 15 minutes, one stop O'Hare)
Washington DC - Orlando - 760 miles. (2 hours)

TOTAL: 6,220 miles (15.5 hours, not counting airport waiting times)

Totals for driving is:

Christmas Eve: 250 miles (5 hours)
Chrismas Day: 250 miles (5 hours)
26 DEC: 560 miles (11 hours est)

Totals for flying private plane:
02 JAN: 520 miles (4.5 hours est)

Cummulative totals:

Commercial (6220) + Driving (1060) + Private Plane (480) = 7,660 miles
Total Hours = Commercial (15.5) + Driving (21) + Private Plane (4.5) = 41 hours

So, I guess I should quit my job as a webMethods guy and become an over-the-road truck driver, as I am used to the hours...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Requirement for "Requirements"

No matter how much time you spend on requirements, they are never done.

iText has been updated - PDF on the fly

The iText classes are very useful for people who need to generate read-only, platform independent documents containing text, lists, tables and images in PDF format.

This new build requires the 1.4 or higher JVM version.

There have been a number of references to iText on wmusers.

Download now!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Database Tools and the Hidden Truth

There's been a number of posts recently referring to "Where is the data stored" in the webMethods schema.

I've seen questions and queries in the past relating to the "unpublished" webMethods schema. No one at webMethods will speak out about how the schema works, what's in it and how, when, it grows and for what reason.

My current project requires the use of data modeling tools. So, I've installed ERWIN, which is a very expensive (but worth it) Computer Associates Tool for modeling, reverse engineering and other DB creation functions.

But, for us poor folks (which is where I reside), there is a wonderful tool that you can get for free that will create a visual on a database, show relations and allow you to export the relationship diagram as a jpg. The tool is called DBVisualizer and I have version 4.3.5.

So, I pointed the DBVisualizer to my webMethods schema (I call it wmsupport), I choose the Partner Table to see what the relationships are.

I have attached the jpg to show you the output. (Note: I cropped the output because the original was 1.3mb so it will not show all relationships)

So, next time an issue arises during development and you need to determine where data is stored because you decide that you want to create your own workaround (Read: create a sql select to get the data out that you want, therefore avoiding the webMethods TN API), then you will move more quickly.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Washington DC, December - Snow and Glow

I hate working in the government space. Most people who know me only wonder why I am working at my current contract. I also wonder.

In 2004 and early 2005, I sub-contracted to CGI-AMS at USAID (Washington DC) and completed most of the webMethods work. Government work is predictable, slow and plodding.

On the other hand, commercial work is usually characterized by a fast-paced, no-nonsense approach to getting things done.

Government Red tape, "unknown" security requirements, architecture "by committee" meetings and other precarious jaw-dropping methods are not the norm in commercial. After all, companies are profit driven.

So, I sit in my office here in DC and wonder about when the snow will hit us and smile knowing that my Subaru AWD sits in the garage, ready to battle the ice and snow!

One day, I know that I'll get back to commercial! But until then, I'll give the tax payers more than their money's worth as I sit here designing and developing a state of the art automatic payment system.

Now that I've spewed out my thoughts for this morning, I guess I'll get back to finishing the automatic backup code that I referenced in an earlier post.

The code is fairly complete, but doesn't have any documentation. I'm going to audit the code, add comments, and make optimization changes.

Here's to another great webMethods day!