Data, the hard way | Computerworld

Pilot fish will get a brand new project: duty for a mainframe utility that prints a per 30 days document record all the workers who use the corporate’s tuition-reimbursement program. The problem we had that made it a recurring programming problem was that, at some point, someone had decided to send the raw data to an outside vendor, which accumulated it and created a data tape that was then sent back to us to be used to print the monthly report,” says fish.

“The outside vendor hired a series of temps to do the actual data entry — all of them with zero experience on this particular job.”

That approach each and every month fish has to take the tape from the out of doors supplier and replica the information right into a uncooked “dump” structure to find simply how that month’s temp has determined to structure the information.

Once he has mapped out the structure, fish then modifies a data-copying application so it could possibly convert the tape’s information right into a structure the document program can perceive.

And it kind of feels like each and every month’s new temp manages to take a look at one thing other: information separated by means of commas, separated by means of areas, now not separated in any respect, aligned, unaligned, with column headers, and not using a columns, with tapes classified or and not using a labels.

Finally one month the temp seems to be any person who has no laptop information access enjoy in any respect — so she emails the information in a Word report. Fish converts it right into a well aligned textual content document, however he nonetheless has a larger drawback: easy methods to get it from Windows into the mainframe.

“After a few hours of fiddling, I was able to persuade the system operator to set me up to receive an FTP file into my mainframe directory, then copy that to a tape that could be mounted in the data center,” fish says.

“Shortly after that, management finally decided to transfer the task of compiling that data to a company employee, so the same person would do the job each month and we wouldn’t have to kludge ways around system security.”

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