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Visual Studio, VB.Net, ASP.NET, C#
Microsoft Visual Studio 2019 is a powerful development platform for creating engaging, interactive user experiences for Web, desktop, and mobile applications when online or offline. Programs developed with DotNet can be made to be compatible across multiple browsers, devices and operating systems to bring a new level of interactivity wherever the Web works.
Visual Studio is mercilessly flexible, frighteningly extensible, and downright fun for a dotnet programmer to work with. With support for advanced data integration, multithreading, HD video using IIS Smooth Streaming, and built in content protection, DotNet enables online and offline applications for a broad range of business and consumer scenarios.
DotNet enables Web-based applications to deliver the business functionality users demand with a modern, efficient UI while securely interacting with desktop files, devices, data and applications such as Microsoft Office.
This new fully object-oriented language, C# is the predominant choice among Microsoft .NET programmers. It is very easy for a VB6 programmer to pick up the few syntactic differences and reach a high state of productivity using C#. Call me a nerd, but I sometimes do a small job, say a well-defined class in VB.net and time permitting, translate it into C# just for fun. All the power of the .NET Framework class library is available and the calls are identical between the two languages. It is very significant that Microsoft considers C# to be its internal developmental language, replacing C++ in all their new products including Windows and Office.
Except for IT historians and nostalgic trivia geeks, probably no one cares much anymore, but BASIC
is an acronym that stands for Beginners' All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code.
It was easy to get simple things going. Many programmers got their start by making some trivial "Hello World" programs with a freebie that came with all editions of DOS called Basica. Then, with the same version, went on to create more complex and practical business programs. Some of these programmers stuck with the language through True Basic, CBasic, Apple Basic, Quick Basic, VB 1 through 6 and now Visual Basic.NET.
As an advanced Visual Basic programmer, I easily migrated to VB.NET and I have found that what was started on the Dartmouth campus has evolved into a powerful object oriented platorm to work from. As a dotnet programmer I use it especially in client/server projects against serious databases such as SQL Server and Oracle. It also works fine as a front end to an Access database for smaller departmental jobs. The current .NET 2.0 framework is exceptionally productive where Rapid Application Development (RAD) is the norm.
As a dedicated dotnet programmer, I stay heavily involved in the DotNet environment, either as an attendee at technical events, sometimes as a presenter.Specific tasks where I used Visual Basic are...
As a Dotnet Programmer, C#, VB.NET, VB 6, Access and SQL Server database consultant, I am a regular member and occasional presenter at the C#, Visual Basic.NET, and Boston DotNet Developer's groups that meet in Portsmouth, NH and at Microsoft's main offices.
Abstracts of my major projects follow.
The International .NET Association (INETA) provides structured, peer-based organizational, educational, and promotional support to the growing worldwide community of Microsoft® .NET user groups. INETA gets a lot of support from third party vendors as well as book publishers who sponsor meetings and supply programmer swag (T shirts, pizzas, and Coke. One large publisher wanted to reward attendees with free copies of technical books but needed a way to track who deserved the gift. For example one for the speaker plus an additional book to a door prize winner. The usual database storage was out of the question, so I created a C# class that did the job of capturing several fields of information, serializing that data to a small diskfile, returning a token that allowed retrieval and decompression (deserialization) of the readable info later when it came time to ship the book. This represented one of my first tasks as a dotnet programmer.
ProTracker Software, Hampton, NH
This firm develops specialized software named ProTracker that it markets nationwide to Certified Financial Planning (CFP) firms. The owner, Warren has an excellent reputation, being a recognized "guru" and a frequent speaker on the CFP symposium circuit. In the role of dotnet programmer, I collaborated with a team in the Midwest on the extensive (60-80) page eCommerce site that markets the software. This was done in the .NET Framework using C#, Visual Basic .NET and ASP.NET. This included downloading data from a web service, working with common dotnet server controls, linking to the data on a remote SQL Server, and plenty of ASP.NET and HTML coding. I also worked for Warren on a large Access program that manages his internal database issues.
PAX World Funds, Portsmouth, NH
This major mutual fund company hired me to finish the work started by a previous Access database programmer. The program tracks commissions owed to brokers all across the country on all kinds of mutual fund transactions. A quarterly import of data is required and I automated this to make life easy for the administrator (Michelle). I later took on Access projects in several other departments including a critical one, Social Screening that is the core of the firm's specialty. PAX continues to use me for general database support.
UNITIL Corp, Hampton, NH
Unitil Corporation is a public utility holding company supplying gas and electric services. I took up where a previous programmer left off in a complex Access program This is designed to track the monetary benefits of users who voluntarily upgrade their residential or commercial energy equipment. This program handles frequent vendor data imports in a wide variety of formats, from ascii (.txt), Access (.mdb), Excel (.xls), and dbase IV (.dbf). The vendors as well as the users of the equipment are tracked and energy savings are calculated in this program.
Fisher Scientific World Headquarters, Hampton, NH
Fisher had a bunch of databases containing the results of multiple Quarterly Customer Satisfaction Surveys. They needed a programmer to unify this data so it could be properly queried and reported on and so information across quarters and across divisions would make sense. I have merged all data into one set of normalized tables and am proceeding to rewrite all queries and reports to address the new schema. We are doing this in such a way that an eventual merge of this "seed" data will easily transform into a full CRM system by means of migration into a Siebel ODS (Operational Data Store).
Strafford County Dover, NH
A new mandate in the State of New Hampshire requires all agencies (>300)
to begin reporting all pension payroll deductions and related information
for all state employees via a file in XML format. Strafford County has 310
employees to report on and the resulting XML rendition is over 4000 lines long.
Roger located me from a web search (oracle programmer nh) and I did the job using
Tyco International Exeter, NH
A local programming house named Compass Systems and Programming created an Employee
Performance program in Access that is deployed at 100 worldwide regions. There were
two very different versions, one for upper management and one for everyone else. I
merged the two code bodies and reproduced all the pre-existing functionality.
Acme Brick Company, Houston, TX
A large brick plant near Houston, TX located us by searching for our skillset on the Web. We created a quality control program for their production engineer using DotNet technologies that monitored a high resolution video camera. This camera was continually focused on a production line of precured and precut bricks called a "slug". Periodically, the line operator clicks a button to take a picture of the line going by at 1 foot per second. Our Visual Basic DotNet solution grabs a frame from the continuous video stream and displays it on a color monitor side by side with a picture of a known high quality standard for that particular style of brick. Depending on the visual comparison, the operator can take appropriate action such as calling for a change in mixture or other operating parameters. If quality is good, he simply does nothing. We log the picture taking events in order to track the operator taking pictures on a prescribed frequency. Hidden from the operator, there is a secured maintenance module so the engineer can periodically check the log, add new standards, tune the camera settings, and perform other data management features.
Genesys Software Corp, Methuen, MA
Program: People Come First -- a Web-based Human Resources program.
GSC clients are Fortune 500 companies as well as other sites such as state and county governments who have a need for extensive reporting on a wide range of employee activities. The client installations I worked on were in the area of employee education. We built a central report repository, maintained tight user security, used report scheduling, and sought accurate and speedy report processing.
As part of a tight and highly skilled development team of 5, I helped provide a scalable web-based solution for managing the access and delivery of hundreds of Crystal reports across the enterprise. These client reports had to be carefully constructed and often rested on SQL joins of up to 20 tables. A very important aspect was speed optimization. The query (view) underlying a particular report was written to take advantage of server-side processing. For example, directing that grouping take place on the server and that execution of the reports be based on data saved with the report, rather than suffering multi-user hits to the server for live data every time. This data was refreshed to the report during off-peak hours.
Another optimization was the use of stored procedures as data sources. Although these take time to set up properly, they can be incredibly powerful, especially when running reports off large databases.
In the interest of cross-skills enhancement on the development team, I conducted Crystal Reports classes (Basic and Intermediate.)
State of NH - Dept of Education, Concord, NH
The DOE needed a database programmer in NH to develop a brand new program to deal with a complex new tracking system mandated by the Federal Dept. of Labor. This legislation that created this national system was the Work Incentive Act (WIA) so that is what we named the State of NH response to it. My program tracks out of work participants and a myriad of details about them while they are involved in Job Training and other educational programs to improve their employability. Many business rules and extensive exporting and reporting at the state and federal level. Periodically transmitted the NH data in formatted records of over 3000 bytes to Dept. of Labor main database which collects data for all the states.
...and many many other projects going back into the mid 1990s.