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ajt (2546)

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UK based. Perl, XML/HTTP, SAP, Debian hacker.

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Journal of ajt (2546)

Saturday February 15, 2003
03:18 PM

B2B Success Story

[ #10608 ]

Some time ago I was going to write up a little Perl success story. Events overtook that week, but now is the time to explain my little story.

Some time ago I use to work for a leading XML Content Management Company (well we claimed to be leading), but market didn't think we were market leading, and so we all lost our jobs one fine spring day. After a bout of depression (anyone without a job - don't give up it is possible), I started the long haul back to job land. Eventually I landed a very unpromising interview at a company I'd never heard off. At the interview they asked if I knew how to get a file onto a web server, of course I did, several weeks later while shopping in Auchan for bargains*, I got a phone call and the job was mine.

My first task on joining was to fix a based upload script on an IIS box. I quickly ported this to and added all sorts of modern logging and some error trapping. I did most of the development on my NT/Apache box with the production system running on IIS (I didn't get to change this). Almost all the problems I ran into were caused by IIS, where all sorts of things just don't work.

After a few weeks messing we got an exposed test server up and our key customer started to run tests. They had some problems, so I split the code in two with a fork (well an NT equivalent), and in the asynchronous mode the customer was happy. More testing took place, including stress testing, and the addition of XML verification stages, along with email notification. Eventually it went into production, a very low key B2B process with just one customer.

There has been no company press release, no article in the J2EE or .NET camp, in fact, it's just sat there and chugged away. It's a mixed environment, NT/IIS with Perl, Java on NT middle, and SAP back end on AIX. Moving forward we are planning to remove the NT systems in favour of Linux and IIS will eventually get replaced with Apache, but it's essentially a hack that works, and works well.

Anyhow 18 months passes, and other than when the customer orders something we don't make, it's worked faultlessly. As part of a study on it's value to the company we did a simple calculation in the SAP system, how much money has flowed though this B2B process, answer $12 million. Not bad I think! That's hard cash, not a consultants estimate either!

* A very good price on a set of Tefal camping pans.

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