Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Moving swiftly on

I've reached the end of a nine month engagement, where I've been helping to maintain a 12 year old system; originally developed I suspect on Oracle7, and still running on Forms/Reports 6i. It's been interesting mainly as an example of how to start to rebuild a team's understanding of a system a team (mainly contractors) has been churned, original documentation is hopelessly outdated, and the institution's understanding of its own systems has been undermined.

We started to replace a LAN full of (flakey, unindexed, heavyweight) documents with a wiki-based repository of (current, hyperlinked, searchable, lightweight) 'bits of knowledge' that can be combined in various useful ways. One or two other groups at the client had already started to use PmWiki, so we built on that. When I get a chance I'll post specifically on how I found PmWiki as a tool, and how it compares with other wikis (TWiki and MoinMoin) that I've used in the past.

Now I've started with a new client, where I am advancing my career by working on a data migration study for a 20+ year old system, based on a pre-relational database, whose name of course I can't mention here. The good news is that the 'new technology stack' is firmly Oracle based; but the most interesting part will be dealing with the political and operational issues involved in migrating what are literally the core systems for this business.

On the way, there should be some interesting comparisons of EAI/ETL/EII tools; I hope we see Oracle Data Integrator put through its paces on the way. Certainly I should be able to post more on 'integration' generally for the next few months.

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