Since my first post was a success, here's another shameless hack-- in this case, ripping a "closed" database I don't usually have access to and making a copy in MySQL for productivity purposes. That was at a former job as an IT guy at a hardware store, think Lowes/Rona.

We had an old SCO Unix server hosting Informix SQL (curious, anyone here touched iSQL?), which has terminal only forms for the users to handle data, and has keybindings that are strangely vi based (ESC does commit changes. Mindfsck for the users!). To add new price changes to our products, this results to a lengthy procedure inside a terminal form (with ascii borders!) with a few required fields, which makes this rather long. Sadly, only I and a colleague had access to price changes.

Introducing a manager who asks a price change for a brand- not a single product, but the whole product line of a brand we sell. Oh and, those price changes ends later after the weekend (twice the work, back at regular price!)

The usual process is that they send me a price change request Excel document with all the item codes along with the new prices. However, being non technical, those managers write EVERYTHING at hand, cell by cell (code, product name, cost, new price, etc), sometimes just copy pasted from a terminal window

So when the manager asked me to change all those prices, I thought "That's the last time I manually enter all of this sh!t- and so does he". Since I already have a MySQL copy of the items & actual (live) price tables, I wrote a PHP backend to provide a basic API to be consumed to a now VBA enhanced Excel sheet.

This VBA Excel sheet had additional options like calculating a new price based on user provided choices ("Lower price by x $ or x %, but stay above cost by x $ or x %"), so the user could simply write back to back every item codes and the VBA Excel sheet will fetch & display automatically all relevant infos, and calculate a new price if it's a 20% price cut for example.

So when the managers started using that VBA sheet, I had also hidden a button which simply generate all SQL inserts for the prices written in the form, including a "back to regular price" if the user specified an end date, etc.

No more manual form entry for me, no more keyboard pecking for the managers with new prices calculated for them. It was a win/win :)

Add Comment