Shortly after I posted the Busybox post I received an email from the vendor whose device I was working with, offering assistance. Nice! I really haven’t leveraged it (yet) because the toughest nut I had to crack was the roundtrip to the clock on the update and retrieval of data (which IS done). THAT would still be much, much easier if I could access the clock using JDBC but there have been a few advantages I have uncovered in working with just the http server and shell scripting. My next challenge is to get the whole thing as secure as possible, but security isn’t critical here: The data doesn’t carry any personally identifiable information and although someone who intercepted the data could manipulate it (I guess), there is a verification step that takes place that makes erroneously paying someone doubtful.
Adding to the mix is the need for checking to see if the clocks are online, updating the data en-mass and clearing data that has been retrieved without losing anything. Still working through that as well. The UI is pretty much done but I am not 100% happy with it. The difficulty is viewing the time clock “punches” in a way that is easy to view. If someone punches in and out 8 times in one day, how do you present that? As a horizontal row or as a set of vertical transactions? Best way to handle it is with agile, iterative steps I think. See how it works and then improve it.
Lots of chatter about Flex over on the midrange.com list today. I have seen some demos and sooner or later I’ll take the plunge. But right now, jQuery and Web 2.0 techniques are my bread and butter for now. I need to get the application done, and sell a few dozen, before I even think about moving to a new development platform. All of the data I/O is using Ajax at the moment. Seems like the most flexible way to go.
I have about a week or two left with this project and then I need to return to ASAAP for some additional polishing work and then jump into the IVR replacement. Nice to have work, but it would be better to have some income (still working on that!).