Saturday, August 05, 2006

Side projects in the works

I've taken on a rather ambitious set of side projects that I'll work on as my time and interest permit. If anyone has any strong opinion about which one they would like me to complete first let me know. I'll be sharing source code and writing some how-to articles as I go through each one. The following are in no particular order.

  • SQL Query Runner - I spend about 95% of my time digging for data in our ERP system and executing queries to see if the descriptions they provide match the data in the table. I have been using a crippleware utility that will only execute queries that run in under 15 seconds. I'm a developer, I can fix this. I'm going to write my own query execution tool and do it in C#. I end up with a tool I can use and I learn a bit more about C#.

  • DXL UI Skinner - A core issue that keeps resurfacing in recent blog buzz is about how difficult it can be to deliver a consistent UI across Notes applications. Templates and UI guidelines are a great start, but the first time you customize a Notes UI element you can no longer synchronize it with a template. Sure you could create a separate template for every design element, but who really has the time for that? My idea is to use DXL to apply UI updates to customized design elements. I know it's been done before but I haven't found a utility that will do it, so once I get mine done I'll put it up on OpenNTF. First up will be form and view action bars and view column headers. If there are any specific design elements or properties you'd like to be able to update en masse let me know.

  • Barracuda Spam Statistics - We use a Barracuda Networks Spam Firewall 300 to filter inbound mail. It works extremely well, we block 85% of all inbound mail with very few legitimate false positives. (Users think the chain letters from their friends are legitimate, I take a different view.) It generates statistics and sends reports via e-mail, which I route to a mail-in database, parse through them, and collect statistics so I can have some idea of how much spam we're getting. Right now I'm only collecting summary traffic data. I will be expanding this to include the rest of the Barracuda reports: top spam senders, top spam recipients, top mail recipients, and top viruses. The Barracuda also exposes a CGI interface for getting access to more information, so the next step after I get the reports parsed will be to research the CGI options.

  • DNS server - Believe it or not, where I work we do not have an internal DNS server. Now that I'm getting more comfortable with linux I'm going to dive in and set one up. I only need to serve two domains and it will only be internal traffic, so I don't anticipate it being too difficult.

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