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Making softwere


desert_gold_hound
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I am makeing my program for running the buisness. I am using C# and SQL.

I am realy strugling to figure out what to add and what to leave out.

So here is my question. If you were to be part of deciding what a softwere package should include, make optional, or get rid of (what you don't like about others). What would be your instant responce?

Here are a few areas of interest to me. I am wondering what you would wont on these.

  • Routs
  • Machines
  • Selections
  • Locations
  • Financhal Depts
  • Financhal Credits
  • Invetory
Any others you can think of.

Should I add an employee section?

I have many ways to go about this. I am thinking about open sourceing this so if any of you work with C# and would like to team up on this let me know.

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I just finished writing a program for myself last night. I'm new to this so it might change after I've been running my route for a while, but here is my DB structure:

Candy

- ID

- Candy Name

Customers

- ID

- Customer info (name, address, etc.)

- Manager Name

- Manager contact info

- Special Requests

Machines

- ID

- Name (naming them after Simpsons characters)

- Type and Vendor

- Number of Heads

Locations

- Location ID

- Machine ID

- Customer ID

- Machine Head

- Candy ID

- Date Placed

Refills

- Location ID

- Refill Date

- Refill Cost (cost of the product)

- Cash Pulled

With this I can tell profit on each head or each type of candy.

Basically the locations table ties everything together. If I replace a type of candy in a head then I'll make a new location record. That way I can compare how different types of candies do in different locations.

I then use QB to track overall costs and Excel to track routes.

When I get 100+ machines I might change, but for now it seems to get the job done :)

Kevin

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I've done something similar, but I've used MySQL and Perl with a web front-end.

I started out simple, and it worked for awhile.  Then I did a little too much 'fixing' and started having problems losing data.  I just decided not to bother with it anymore and switched over to Vend-Trak.

 

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I am using mySQL and I am thinking a table called SelectionTable

this would allow me to tie every selection into it like follows

selectionID (is key)

machineID (ties into machine)

This would alow me to make each product tie into each other.

One problem I am worried about is how to set up the amount collected. IE do I wont to tie this into the location, machine, selection, or product. The consern I have is if they remove the machine from one location and place it in a different is that this would cause a problem.

I am glad to see you are using a proper nameing convention. I hate fixing someone else's work when I cant understand it. LOL

I love programming but it is sooooo complicated at times. When I first started (still new) I was wondering how the avarage programmer only did 5 lines of code a day. This seemed very low. Now that I have done a few programs I totaly understand. It has alot to do with just thinking it out. I did a job for a local hotel and only avaraged 10lines a day. I probaly did 100 and got rid of 90. LOL

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Well, I tie amount collected along with cost of product to a location. However, I define "location" to be a combination of machine, head, customer and product. So, the same machine at the same customer w/a different product - new location. Similiarly the same machine w/the same product moved to a new customer - new location.

This way I can sum things however I want. I can look at things by customer, product, machine, or head.

I did this very quickly in an "old" language called PowerBuilder and used SQL Anywhere (basically Sybase) for the database.

If I need to make it more "robust" I'll use create a Java/HTML app using Oracle on the backend...but I'm a long way away from that.

Kevin

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My main problem is I am very new to programming so there are things I havent figured out yet. I havent worked with printer's yet and know I will eventaly wont to make things printable. I keep building and deleating the programs I wright. One thing I need to start doing is building class's this way I can reuse what works good. That is one of my programming flaws that I need to get over. One of my other major flaws is using KISS I have a tendancy to complicate things instead of "keeping it simple stupid" this has became a major major flaw for me and I have to keep it in mind from now on becouse this is usaly the reason I get rid of what I am working on.

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Oh, and FYI, I'm a computer consultant so whatever I end up needing I'll write instead of buying :)

That being said, I want very much to get out of the business and am looking at smaller things (like vending) to "retire" into :)

"I then use QB to track overall costs and Excel to track routes."

But you purchased these two programs! :D

Vend-Trak $50.00 first year $30.00 there after.

Computer consultant $100.00 + an hour.

KISS

Was a no brainier for me, I hate coding, and time is money. Been getting out of the computer field for years but some people still call me, even though I continue to raise my rates to dissuade the.

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desert_gold_hound

Sign up for Vend Trak and you will see how somebody else did it. I'm sure you will get some good ideas on what direction to go with your program. Or maybe you will decide that they are headed in the right direction and just use that program instead of writing your own.

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I have used there sample page and do like it. I however do not like the idea of someone else keeping my data bases. I also enjoy programming.

On a side note they do seem to have a good program going and everyone seems to like it. I am in no way bashing there program/site. I just don't like the idea.

As far as getting ideas they have given me many and I will be using some of them.

For those that use this what is it you like? dislike?

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I have used there sample page and do like it. I however do not like the idea of someone else keeping my data bases. I also enjoy programming.

Sign up for the two month trial, use your data that way you will get a real feel for what works and what does not. As side note there is a major update comming in the future, I'm hoping for better route management and a desktop/PDA solution to coincide with the web interface.

On a side note they do seem to have a good program going and everyone seems to like it. I am in no way bashing there program/site. I just don't like the idea.

People in general prefer local over hosted, but sometimes it does make sense to have a hosted program. I run a software PBX, though I could run it local and get better PSTN integration I choose hosted for better internet connection for VOIP. I have a DSL connection and find there is too much bandwidth interference.

As far as getting ideas they have given me many and I will be using some of them. For those that use this what is it you like? dislike?

I have a few problems with the program but the developers are very good at fixing/integrating the problems and new ideas. I too wrote my own program which did 75% to 90% of what Vend-Trak did. But as time went on I wanted more and it took more time. So I decided my time was more valuable then developing a program for my own use when I could purchase a program and send in suggestions of what I wanted.
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Grumpy, agreed. We have different views on this, but your replies are good.

As for QB and Excel, yes, technically they were purchased, but over 5yrs ago and for things other than vending.

So, as far as vending goes, no software purchased :)

Computer consultant is free, not $100+/hr since I am doing the work.

Not trying to put down Vend-Trak, but it isn't for me. And I know there are other programs out there too.

However, I do custom software. I want something that is very specific for my needs. And if I want to change anything, I just do it.

The OP stated they were writing custom software and that is why I replied. I'm not trying to get into a debate about purchased software vs. custom written. Each has their place.

Kevin

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alyssamma unless I have misread something I don't think grumpy was triing to start a debate and is not saying not to do the softwere but to look at what they have done.

I agree with most of your veiws as well. You have brought up some good points.

Just out of wonder what are you using C++, basic, peral, C# or something else?

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Grumpy, agreed. We have different views on this, but your replies are good.

Appreciate that, if all views were the same this would be a boring forum. :D

Sorry Kevin, I think you misread my post or more likely I was not clear. The $100.00 an hour is what I charge for my time. It would take me longer than an hour to write the program. :)

I do understand wanting something specific for your needs and I also guessed that QB and Excel were for something else. (I use both for my computer business too.)

I'm not debating the good and bad of custom or purchase software, as both have a place and custom will always be better for the user as it is designed for their use as compared to designed for the masses.

I was just pointing out that time is money and I'm real short on time, currently three different business with their own demands, (no summer vacation for us) so I always weigh the cost to benefit thing. I'm also a licensed mechanic but I never work on my own vehicles any more. I also have other licenses and skills but I hire contractors more than doing it myself even though I know I would do a better job.

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I could probably do better with someone else’s program when comparing time and money per hour. The thing is I enjoy writing code. So to me its like going out to the movies. It is entertaining but if I just write programs for the fun of it that do nothing useful I feel I am wasting my education. When I use it for something I can use I am using my education and gaining more education.

I totaly agree if we all agree'ed this forum would be totaly stupid to come too.

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Ahhh, ok, sorry for the misunderstanding. I write my own stuff mainly because I'm anal and want things a specific way :)

As for language, I'm using an very old language called PowerBuilder. It is very quick to do something like this.

I mainly do J2EE and web development on the side and work with WebSphere and BusinessWare at client sites.

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We are also writing our own Route Software, as we do not like the idea of having our route business info online and have been using it for the past couple of months. It is possible that we will make it a commercial product for general release but that is still a little ways out.

Currently it allows us to select the locations we want routed for the week , produces a map of the route, downloads to a handheld all the collection info from the last collection time with location info. We use the handheld determine product Qty for stocking our vehicles, recording collection info for product used, coins collected and notes pertaining to Location, Machine, Service and Priority Care requirements.

It has definatly cut our time down for record keeping and does a lot more than I have stated here, but I hate typing and would rather read a book than write one.

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desert_gold_hound wrote:

Your a better programmer then me. I havent even figured out how to print to the printer yet. I would love to do the hand held idea.

If I release mine it will be as shareware or very cheap. We will see.

Wish I could take the credit, but can't, it's my son that is the DataBase Guru, I just give input on what we need and he does the Magic.

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