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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    3

    Hey guys! Rookie getting into filing systems

    Hey guys,

    I'm Credos, I work on a boat as the technical manager so I get to travel around the globe. So far I've been in 3 continents with the boat so it's been good. My work demands me to work 2 months 12 hours per day 6 out of 7 and then I get one month off. Being honest with myself my natural talent was never technical stuff but was programming, so I'm hoping on getting deeper into that, and I tend to link my current job with learning of new things such as C++ and now also databases. I get a lot of freedom so focussing on this should not be a problem.

    I have been extremely frustrated with the way data gets saved around here. We have a strong database system however it does not get used to it's full extend. Onboard there's just everybody doing their own thing and no standarisation/conventions.

    My goal here would build be to up a database system to help with the filing system. I'm have to admit that database wise I'm pretty much a rookie, I've had like the very basics of normalization and that's about it. I can program VBA as I learned it in my free time and am currently learning C++. As an ongoing project I wanted to model the relationships on how to link all the machinery, manuals, plans, mails, reports, etc but it's been difficult. I feel like I'm reinventing the wheel and that's why I'm here, to get some pointers from other people who made databases for warehouses or perhaps even boats on how to file documents...

    Any suggestion which forum I should start? Any books you would advise me to read that could help me with the subject?

    Cheers guys

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
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    Your English is excellent, so if you have access to the Internet that will be a huge help to you. There is an enormous amount of content and training, but the vast majority (at least as far as I know) of that content is in English.

    In your post you say that you have a strong database system, but you don't identify it. I would recommend that you start with whatever system you already have... That makes learning a lot easier and more immediately applicable!

    DBForums is specifically focused on databases, so while we can answer some of your programming questions (especially as they focus on database access), we probably can't help much with the programming specific issues.

    My questions to you would be:
    1. What database engine or engines do you already have onboard?
    2. What are the things that you want to learn?
    3. Are you willing to invest in a paid training platform like Plural Sight?

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
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    3
    Hi PatP,

    Thanks for the swift reply and thanks for the compliment on the English, it's one I don't hear often, even though my native language isn't English.

    Here the answers to your questions:
    1) The database we use is called AMOS, the problem is that I don't have any rights to adjust the queries or any manipulation what so ever. There is no filing integration in the system. I know the option exists, though they don't want to use it considering the datadistribution between HQ and the vessel would be too expensive.

    2) What I want to learn is C++ mainly, what I want to achieve is create a filing system with the structure of a database.
    example: we have pumps, they are run by an electrical motor. Now the filing we use doesn't obligate conventions on where to save reports on this material. Let's say the electrical motor breaks down. Now some people save this under the folder for electronical equipment, others under pumps, others under motors... And then there are people who save nothing whatsoever. There's no clear indication what's important information and what not. No convention = information loss and time loss. I hope to solve this problem by writing the conventions and restructuring the system. The structure of the system IMO would be best to be based on database rules.

    3) Am I willing to pay: I personally think investing money in yourself is a smarter choice than buying gadgets, so yes I'm willing to pay a certain amount of money to learn new stuff, if I'm convinced that this will help my cause.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    9

    Rookie getting into filing systems

    Hi Credos

    Basically I use DBformums to learn about

    MS Access and there is a lot of VBA in there. I am a novice to this forum.

    And do not know too much about C++.

    I do not know how appealing it is for you to work with MS access.

    Advantage is that you can use ODBC drivers, and make your our queries to extract data from current plat form, and
    make links and databases after your liking.

    Once you start playing abit around you will find a structure that makes sence.

    So you will spend more time thinking about sturcture than lower level programing.


    Then you can make models and simple front end MS access buttons, with relationship databases in MS Access you will
    soon make a structure where you can force users to put data in certain areas.


    If you have a nice front end model that works well and flexible I am sure when present to HQ, they are willing to listen.
    (Money can always be found if money is saved )

    In MS Access I have made Invoicing programs, Stock programs, Purchase, Labelling, quality and PDF handling over the last 10 years, to name a few.

    Our company today wouldn't survive a day without it.

    Anyway I hope it was useful, management and programming advise, from a man who learned the hard way.
    Sasan
    PS With trial version of MS ACCESS free for 30 days you can get several sample databases (also Northwind.mdb), for different applications it might inspire you much faster. Once you have the structure you could add your C++ for file handling etc.
    Last edited by Sasan.Danechi; 10-27-13 at 18:19. Reason: Spelling and adding a last comment

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    In front of the computer
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    15,579
    While C++ is a powerful programming language, it is not a simple language... It takes time to learn, time to write, and it can be a huge time sink to debug especially when you hit some of the obscure points of the language or bugs in the compiler.

    What you are describing sounds like a CMS or Content Management System to me. These systems allow you to create or upload content like documents (PDF, MS-Word, etc.) and store them into the system then manage and find that content many different ways. I think that this will get you the results you want with only a fraction of the work needed to write an equivalent package in C++ and there are several other benefits. Best of all you don't need to maintain the end result! Another important benefit is that once you build the "document finder" portion of the CMS, you can expand on it with almost anything you can imagine being done via a web page!

    There are a number of CMS packages that might serve your needs. I recommend starting at the high end in terms of features and complexity and working your way down to whatever level makes you comfortable... You literally can't over reach, because as time goes on you will use more and more of whichever CMS package you adopt. I would suggest you look at Drupal, XOOPS, and Joomla. If none of those suit you, go back to the Wikipedia article and try some of the packages that they suggest.

    Visit Plural Sight to see if it would be a good fit for your needs. They offer a free ten-day trial, but I would suggest that you review the web site and get a mental image of it, but don't sign up until you have a few days that you can focus on it... The training is fantastic in terms of both quality and quantity, but the bandwidth is pretty steep even for download/offline viewing... It might not be a good fit for you due to the cost of bandwidth on a ship, but otherwise I would recommend it VERY highly.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    3
    Thanks for the reply guys!

    Sasan.Danechi, I have to be honest I have tried MS access but have had really bad experience with it. Probably due to my own inexperience with the program, I guess I should read up on it/do some tutorials to make decent files.

    PatP, I'll definitely get into that Pluralsight, perhaps during my leave or when stuff calms down a bit here at work. I myself have the option to go to on the shore and as I read there are offline modules, it does look quite interesting. I'm currently reading up on those CMS packages as we speak.

    I have to admit that C++ has been hard, but I like it that way, I'm using the following book: "A Complete Guide to Programming in C++" by Ulla Kirch-Prinz & Peter Prinz. It's very well written though the deeper I get, the longer the chapters take to comprehend.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    In front of the computer
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    C++ is a great language, and a really great tool to learn the mechanics of how a computer can do things. For code that needs to be blazingly fast, C or C++ are usually the tools of choice. C++ was my second object oriented language (unless you also count LISP which can be OOP).

    Microsoft Access is a great tool for a single user doing database tasks, which is why Microsoft considers Microsoft Access as part of their Office suite. Access can also do some pretty cool things for small groups (I'll use it for up to about 30 users) if you have the discipline to do things correctly. I haven't had good luck using Access for larger projects, although I know people who swear by it.

    The neat thing about a CMS that makes me think that it would be a good fit for your task is that the CMS is designed to build a web site from content stored in a database. You can control which classes of users see which content (so the librarian might see information that the average user might not, and the ship's command staff might see different information still).

    The building and managing of lists is a perfect use of a CMS. There are ways for you to store the computer files and make those available via the CMS. The CMS could track physical objects (tools, log books, paper documents, etc.) with information about who last looked for each object, if anyone has it "checked out", etc. All of this could be tracked using categories which you can create and cross apply as you see fit.

    As a neat side benefit, all of the CMS packages that I cited above are based on common scripting languages which are easier to write than C++, but which can in turn call a C++ program to do the "heavy lifting" of computation, etc. This gives you a lot of pre-built power which you can customize as you see fit.

    -PatP
    In theory, theory and practice are identical. In practice, theory and practice are unrelated.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    9

    MS Access

    I guess you should go down the road that excites you.

    I know MS Access is very though to get into but once started it gets exciting.

    There is a lot of sample programs. If you decide to go down that road, I am ready to help you along, as a mentor. Good luck

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