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Programming Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 7:32 AM
Old Hand

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Bill Talada (7/10/2013)
The whole mess of programming "between" different apps and data requires scripting or macro languages which are usually syntactically very ugly and kludgy. I generally end up doing a bulk insert of text into @tables in sql and slicing and diceing until I come up with text to save as a batch file and run through a cmd shell. I can only do this because of 30 years of experience. Last week I used sql to generate a batch file to rename 3000 files...saving me a day of work.

I use sqlserver to bulk insert vb database solution and project files to automate quality checks and disk file verifications. I also use it to process folder and filenames.

I learned Python for a week only to realize it can't access the clipboard - a real deal breaker for me since that is how I do most macro functions in other programs. I used Winbatch years ago but I think it is overpriced. I liked autokey but it is cryptic. I now use QuickMacros and love it for it's virtually unlimited power but it too takes hours to write a few lines.

I see ScriptCS is in the works as a C# scripter. I'll check it out after it matures a few more months.

I also have vedit which is probably the most powerful text manipulation macro language on the planet. The product may be suffering from underfunding and lack of evolution into object oriented-ness though.

I also use notepad++ almost exclusively for its ability to search/replace across files using regex pattern matching.

Even with all these tools I still get irritated at the difficulty of implementing the patterns in my mind into these disparate languages and paradigms.

Anyone have any powerful, readable tools that serve as transforming and glueing swiss army knives?



Python can access the clipboard, see here:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/101128/how-do-i-read-text-from-the-windows-clipboard-from-python
Post #1472127
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 8:16 AM
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Good Article, working as a SQL Server DBA over the last 10 years I have forgotten how to actually sit down and write a simple windows program, it's just T-SQL and administration duties. This article makes me see how much I need to get back in the application development portion of my career.


Post #1472174
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 8:17 AM
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I agree with this article. It seems obvious to me (I am a developer first, DBA second), but the linked to article pointed out things I didn't think of. For example, I know how to use Excel for basic tasks (in my job as a senior programmer analyst, using Excel isn't one of my requirements), but my boss, who isn't technical, is really a wiz at using Excel. She can make it come up with things like you wouldn't believe. I have to perform the data extractions, but once I've done that I can give it to her and she'll analyze it and make the presentation pretty.

On the flip side, I'm going to show this article to my kids. I don't expect them to become programmers, most of them aren't interested in that, but I do think it is important that they realize the importance of having some technical skills under their belts.


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Rod
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Post #1472176
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 8:38 AM


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I don't know that everyone can, or wants, to learn programming, but I do think there are a wider group of people that can than are doing it now. Some of it is exposure, some of it is opportunity. If we give everyone chances, more will learn to do it.

I do think that programming as a skill isn't necessarily building methods, functions, classes, and code. It can be the analysis in Excel that uses formulas and arrangements.

We ought to be pushing all types of programming more in society, IMHO.







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Post #1472184
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:21 AM
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We must be careful not to confuse the logic of how (process), with the logic of why (reason). It has been my experience that very few excel at both. I would argue that the ability to reason is more important to develop. For example, before you need to know how to build a bridge, you need to know if it makes sense to build one.
Post #1472200
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:47 AM
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I disagree with the 'everyone needs to learn to program' theory as was mentioned before in the 'everyone needs to know how to fix a car' example.

It would be good if people had a general knowledge of how it works in a general sense. Everyone should have a basic knowledge of first aid, but they should not attempt medicine. Everyone should have a basic understanding of law but they should not attempt to be their own lawyer. The average person should know how to change a tire, but not attemp to be their own mechanic.

The truth is, we DON'T need a universe of programmers. People need to get their jobs done (generally with applications) and it's up to the subset of the population who are programmers to provide them (just as it's up to the subset of the population that are automotive engineers and mechanics to provide viable vehicles).


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Post #1472219
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 9:49 AM


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Wow Steve, looks like you've sparked quite a philosophy session this hump-day morning!

I think that before adding programming to any curriculum, we need to add a logic classes first. I've seen too many people writing code that assume they are logical because they can code. And then a discrete mathematics class. Even if they don't go on to coding, they could at least figure out how many outfits 4 shirts, 3 pants and 2 pairs of shoes make.

Also, in my world, I am not seeing a rush of people trying to code spreadsheets, access db's, mobile apps or anything else. I'm seeing people asking for these tools and in some cases, not really understanding what it is they will use them for. And what it takes to create them. I'm think 'we' (techs, programmers, dba's) are becoming more...separated?... defined?... as a group, as necessary personnel for any business to create these tools. As opposed to the controller who programs his own spreadsheets or the sales rep that creates his own pricing matrix.
Post #1472220
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 2:35 PM
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jay-h (7/10/2013)
I disagree with the 'everyone needs to learn to program' theory as was mentioned before in the 'everyone needs to know how to fix a car' example.

It would be good if people had a general knowledge of how it works in a general sense. Everyone should have a basic knowledge of first aid, but they should not attempt medicine. Everyone should have a basic understanding of law but they should not attempt to be their own lawyer. The average person should know how to change a tire, but not attempt to be their own mechanic.

The truth is, we DON'T need a universe of programmers. People need to get their jobs done (generally with applications) and it's up to the subset of the population who are programmers to provide them (just as it's up to the subset of the population that are automotive engineers and mechanics to provide viable vehicles).


Does everyone need to program? Not all at the same level no. Should everyone learn some programming skills to meet tomorrow's demands? Probably. Should anyone who wants to be encouraged to give it a shot? You bet!

Things are changing, people who want to get their jobs done might need to write a macro, create a form, write complicated formulas or code some simplistic SQL like code. What use to be only for the 'power user' a few years back has become a requirement for anyone using certain tools today. As technology moves forward the need for elementary code abilities will become more widespread.

But I agree that does not mean that everyone should strive to be a master programmer. Not all have the skill, patience, or the creativity for it. The true scientist or artist of technology works on another level that few reach. Many aspire to it but not many get there. However, that they aspire and try to get there means that they are able to do the work that the true artist does not want to do. The excel macro or simple query can be done by those with sufficient skills, let the ones who are able write the complex CLR code and .net front end. Let those who see jquery, ajax, and HTML 5 as instruments to create a symphony do so.

In fact we need them all. The more who can code the better. There is always work for them to do. And let those who can do so. It works better that way!

Miles...


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Post #1472365
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 2:37 PM
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I agree with those who say that programming is not a skill that the majority of people must have. At the same time, I think it is a skill that all educated people should have some passing familiarity with. It's in the same vein that I think every educated adult should have some chemistry, history, etc, under their belt. They don't have to be experts or even functional in it, but we all should know enough to intelligently participate in society's discussions about important topics like say, global climate change or stem cell research or nutrition science.

Another argument for making every Middle School? or High School? person have a programming class is to open up possibilities for young people. I just happened to take a Basic programming class in High School. I had no interest in programming before that. After that class, I realized that I LOVED programming. If we don't expose young people to the topic in a meaningful way, people can loose out on opportunities. Also, I suspect that early exposure in a positive way could get more diverse people into the field.
Post #1472367
Posted Wednesday, July 10, 2013 3:18 PM
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I agree with you, JJ, that education people should have an exposure to programming, but not necessarily a high level of proficiency at it. It's somewhat analogous to elective courses in college. For example, my degree is in Mathematics, but I took an art appreciation course when working on my degree. I can't paint to save my life, but I can look at art and normally recognize what period of time it came from. I find that has enriched my life, even though I can't paint. By the same token I believe an exposure to programming, even if it's just a description of what algorithms are and a narrative of a few basic ones would be good for everyone, plus learning how to do some simple things like set program their DVR or set up rules within their email client. I also like the idea of a programming class, perhaps optional, in high school, so that people who might think they'd be interested in it could take it to "kick the tires" so to speak.


Kindest Regards,

Rod
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Post #1472374
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