Saturday, 2 May 2009

What do you do?

I usually have trouble explaining to people what it is that I do for a living. They ask me, ‘What do you do for a living?’ or ‘What is it that you do in Adelaide?’or even ’What do you do with yourself?’ I then prepare myself inwardly, take a deep breath, and say something like‘I’m an IT Engineer’ or ‘I’m a Web Developer’. Most of the time that results in a blank stare. So I press on. ‘I build and maintain websites and online applications for various companies and Government Agencies.’ I then get a half-genuine ‘ohhhh’. I then will get the pleasure of sitting through some story of a computer that doesn’t work, or perhaps an expression of someone's frustration with computers generally or a statement like ‘All that’s way over my head.’

I sometimes wonder why I bother with the dumbed down version. I should reply with something like: ‘I build and maintain dynamic online applications and websites using various combinations of server side technologies including: ColdFusion, SQL Server and .NET. I also develop with the typical client-side technologies such as JavaScript and HTML and CSS.’ I honestly don’t think the majority of responses would be any different. I get internally labelled as ‘One of those people’ by the person I’m talking to either way.

Anyway, if any of you are interested, here are some examples of what I do.

I built the online entry form for the ‘Waterhouse Natural History Art Prize’. (Not the site itself, just the entry form linked to on this page.) Doing it was quite cool because I got to learn some ‘Web 2.0’ things by using AJAX calls and also the JQuery JavaScript library.

I also built this Interactive PDF form: (or Smartform) DFC Concessions Smartform. Which is linked to here. This form was built using some software called ‘Adobe Livecycle Designer'. It competes with Lotus Notes for the title of ‘worst piece of software I’ve ever used’. It uses lots of Javascript for form validation and submits data to a .NET web service.


Anonymous said...

Looks like the form turned out pretty nicely.. what trouble did you have with Designer?

Jonny on 22 June 2009 at 8:18 pm said...

What were the problems I had with Adobe Livecycle Designer?

At the time there were several. Some of the ones I can remember were:
- Chronic Instability. Especially when working with Javascript it would often crash for no reason. (1-3 per day on average!)
-Memory Leaks.
-Settings on fields would spontaneously change, especially relating to borders.
-Incomplete documentation/ APIs
-Display problems/ inconsistencies.

Admittedly, that was using V8.05. There's a possibility I'll be developing another form in the near future with V8.2. If so, hopefully that will be better.


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