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Super Hero
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Super Hero
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Go for it, Richard! smile


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I'm not really interested in databases - although they're an important "tool of the trade" that's used in maintenance. My C programming, MS ANSI C, Visual C, C++ and embedded C experience, is associated with cross-compilers for hardware applications. Never really been into dedicated RTOS programming but most RTOS "functionality" can be provided using C.

Like everybody else I've played with Visual Basic, Access and Excel to produce simple databases and applications quickly. I've not got the skill or inclination to develop a database or simple applications in C because the effort to learn the ins and outs of C is not worth it to me.

The language is a means to an end so I stick to what gives me the best return on the time and limited skill I have in programming "odds and ends" for Windows. I do tinker with VB.NET and I think it's probably more suited to databases but programming databases holds no real interest to me.

Saying that I reckon the real skill comes in specifying what data goes into the database and how it's used, i.e. database modelling and development. This is way more important than the language that's used for the application, I believe.

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Super Hero
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Donít sell yourself short, Richard. Iíve met many techs who donít have a clue how to go about even simple coding. Myself, I love databases. Databases (and spreadsheets) are what computers are all about, in my opinion. Otherwise, PCís are just fancy entertainment machines.

Remembering what Theodore Roosevelt said, "Do what you can, with what you have, where you are" (the biomed's mantra, surely), I find it satisfying to be able to have ago in any old language. Obviously some are more suitable than others, but whereís the fun in "point and click"?

I agree with you, Richard. For a decent result it is essential that the "data-set model" has been well thought out in the first place. That is, the organisational model, procedures etc. have to be not only grasped, but well-understood (this is why I'm always preaching that "home-grown" is best). Many (usually young, perhaps inexperienced) coders are eager to rush on and start coding ("fools rush in ... "), only to pay the price in endless re-work later on. Computers are a tool like all the other tools at our disposal. But as with tools, some people are more dexterous than others.

Each to their own, then. Or should that be "From each according to his ability: to each according to his work"? smile

Many fail to actually complete their project(s) also, it must be said. So, hereís a saying (attributed by Margaret Thatcher to her father), that's worth keeping at the back of your mind:-

"It's easy to be a starter,
But are you a sticker too?
It's easy enough to begin a job;
It's harder to see it through."


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I think we need to banish the myth that VB.NET is a "point and click" language as per previous versions of "legacy" VB. I'm inclined to use VB.NET precisely because it appears to have made the break from just dragging controls onto forms and suchlike.

As far as I'm aware it uses the Common Language Runtime (CLR) environment of Windows that's also used by the other visual languages, e.g. Visual C. It's a fully Object Oriented Programming (OOP) language, i.e. it's able to meet the requirements for definition of OOP, it is able to create & use methods (in DLLs, etc) common to other languages that also use the CLR.

It is in its own right a very powerful programming language that may not have as much access to system resources at the lower levels, like C, but it's more than adequate for learning complex aspects of OOP. Certainly powerful enough to be dedicated to programming complicated database applications.

Since I'm not a programmer, i.e. I'm an interested amateur with some experience of programming (various languages) from school, college and university and as a hobby, I don't get involved in programming "projects" at work - I leave that to "experts". My job is to maintain equipment.

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Super Hero
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OK, Richard, youíve sold it. Iíll take a look at VB.NET when I get the time.

We may not be expert programmers, but from where such people stand, I dare say that we do appear as experts in the engineering support and maintenance of medical equipment. Thatís why the solutions of us maintainers are superior!

Remember what we get from the "experts"? Centi-hours, weird data fields that the user is forced to use (or work around), and nonsense like that. No Mate, the enthusiastic amateur beats the so-called professional any day, in my book at least.

But, to avoid repeating myself yet again, Iíve said it all before at the Re: Philips Optim thread on 27-Jan-07. smile


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No Mate, the enthusiastic amateur beats the so-called professional any day, in my book at least.

I agree but programmers are a luxury in most departments and a waste of an engineer who could/should be maintaining equipment, perhaps. The amateurs win because the customer will get want they want/what's required rather than an off the shelf compromise that's not adequately supported and is being fobbed-off onto those that don't understand that a database is there to serve the organisation not the other way around.

Perhaps OPTIM is an example of a badly designed, poorly executed and supported commercial product that may not be suitable, or maybe too complex, for the tasks that we require.

The potential danger with amateurs who develop databases is that they leave, change job-roles away from what they were originally employed to do, e.g. repairs, and get bored with database maintenance once they've finished the interesting stuff. They can also put a department to "ransom" for uplift in pay or job role once they set up a system that no-one else is in a position to develop/maintain/support.

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Super Hero
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... professionals have never been known to do anything like that, I suppose? wink

Last edited by Geoff Hannis; 07/07/07 3:37 PM. Reason: Added some italics.

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Good point - I've rarely heard of commercial organisations being "dragged over the coals" by NHS departments for poor support/shoddy products.

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It's been a couple of months now since my last post, and perhaps people have been wondering where I've been. No? Well, never mind that. Let's just say that I haven't been able to get in the groove, for one reason or another. But here I am back again, with plugs in sockets, and ready to rock (almost)!

C, C++, C#, dBASE, Delphi, FoxPro, Java, Pearl, Visual Basic (sorry if I've missed out any of your favourites) - who cares? It's all code at the end of the day!

Yeah, K&R were true heroes, but so too were Wayne Ratcliff, Dave Fulton, Jeb Long and all the rest of the pioneers in the Coder's Hall of Fame.

Kaz smile

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Super Hero
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I wonder what those genius guys are up to these days, Kaz? Resting on their laurels, or still cranking out the code?

Go for it, Mate. smile

Last edited by Geoff Hannis; 05/08/07 7:51 AM. Reason: Minor correction needed.

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