July 14, 2008

Playing It By Ear

I am finished with my 40-hour day. Strangely, sleepless nights often leave me feeling more accomplished at the end of the next day. The lack of shuteye may leave me witless and bleary-eyed, but I do find myself thinking in surprisingly different ways, approaching careworn problems from a skewed perspective. Today's revelation was the solution to long loading times on several pages that return too large a result set.

select [Column List]
from [Table]
order by [Index] desc
select top x [Column List]
from [Table]
where [Primary Key] not in
select top y [Primary Key]
from [Table]
order by [Index] desc
order by [Index] desc

That simple manipulation drastically cut the query's response time, though I've yet to try it on my bigger tables. Browsing is now faster, vertical scrolling is reduced and less archived data is immediately visible. It was mentioned to me by one of the sales consultants that, despite being a significant improvement upon SalesLogix, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system I'm developing can be overwhelming in the amount of data provided. I hope that small tweaks like this will present more palatable chunks of information.

Design is on my brain. Like vowing to finish Wake, learning to speak French and designing a video game, conjuring up a functional and profitable second career as a web designer is one of the goals upon which I focus sharply for a few weeks before my interest flits to the next. I take offense at being called fickle, but perhaps I am! It's not for lack of wanting that these dreams remain unrealized. Regardless, I ran across an interesting article on prototyping, which refers to the production of rudimentary working versions that precede a final product. What gamers will know as alphas and betas. My CRM had several prototypes and will have more as I roll out support to different departments, making the article relevant to my own understanding of my current work environment.

Approaching software development projects the same way on the web as I would the desktop wasn't a leap of faith, it came naturally. The framework and architecture possibilities presented by technologies like Ajax have returned my interest to web design after I abandoned it to the rigors of the SUNY computer science program (which I mostly avoided with Counter-Strike, much to my chagrin today). Hopefully, I will not be so quick to let my interest wander this time.

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