Date: Mon, 27 May 1996 21:57:41 +-1000
Reply-To: Alex Wolf <wolfam@WERPLE.NET.AU>
Sender: "SAS(r) Discussion" <SAS-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
From: Alex Wolf <wolfam@WERPLE.NET.AU>
Subject: FW: Warehousing War Stories?
From: Alex Wolf[SMTP:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 27, 1996 9:53 PM
To: 'Karsten Self'
Subject: RE: Warehousing War Stories?
I have had the misfortune to have to perform minor surgery on the fabulously
designed BDBF product. The Product was created by Duesquene to allow
billing and chargeback on MVS platforms. The product and company were
purchased by Legent.
The system operates on SAS Database with daily, Weekly, Monthly and yearly
cycles and usually derives it's source input from MXG performance databases.
The System operates by dynamically allocating new datasets as it requires and
dynamically building the names of the source code modules required at
execution time. Extensive use of stringing module names together and looping
through them numerous times makes for very tedious and frustrating debugging
work. Documentation within the program code is virtually nonexistent and
the person who is not macroarily up to it will not make it !
The system is run by tables of parameters that are under the control of a
clerk with no DP, SAS etc. Knowledge and if the clerk gets it wrong, the
task to recover the problem is very messy.
If a generation of data is lost, then it is near impossible to insert it into
the database ie. A day is lost and it is now two weeks since the missing
The logic that controls the system is fragile and if a day is missed, the act of
running two days inserting in one day results in the application not allowing
things to work properly and manual kludges need to be done to force ( and I
mean force ) the data in.
The points are KISS ( Keep It simple ).
Give the application tolerance to possible bad parameters and allow the user
to know immediately. Program to give a progress log for any processes that
occur so the problem and diagnostic suggestions are easy to follow. Program
to overcome data inconsistencies and don't leave it up to a programmer, what about
a lazy support person who left it for two days and then really botched up things so badly
that I spent a whole weekend and Monday furiously fixing the loading and daily, weekly
end of month, end of quarter and other reports.
To make a system so complex, it may be impossible to upgrade the product when SAS
issues a major new release. BDBF is at 5.18 and it is too much effort
to upgrade it to version 6.
I hope this war story is of use to you. Further details are available on request. As an
ex-Colleague used to say "There is a paper somewhere in this one" - I can think of 5 - 6
Alex M. Wolf
in the Land of OZ