Lately I’ve been stuck at work doing Data Entry, hence forth known as DE. Now this is nothing surprising, one of the oldest maxims of computer science is garbage in==garbage out, so there’s a certain amount or respect/effort that must be put into this necessary evil.
I knew this task would come with the job, as the company that so graciously allows me to pay rent and eat, mainly deals with one very large client, who annually refreshes its product line up. It’s expected of my employer that they create a website which allows you to view/change/configure their products to your preferences, and see the resulting price. (The resulting price, is mainly a guide line, as the product is a little to large to ship, priced above what most people are willing to pay for with out seeing the result immediately, or trying it out first)
Now you may be saying to yourself no big deal… he’s whining about entering a few sku’s, and you’d be right- but you underestimate the amount of work that’s required (due to the complexity of the product that the company I work for markets for its client). So let me quit with the hyperbole and get directly to the disgusting figures.
The client has 7 new SKU’s…
Each of which have 2-4 versions…
Which each have about 200 features that have to enumerated and entered separately.
Some features are mutually exclusive,
And others are grouped in packages.
Result: TONS of work.
I’ve been doing data entry for the last 3 days…. and I’m one of 4 people entering the data. (To be fair, I’m the only one working on this- close to full time)
Now it helps that I wrote half the web interface we’re using, but unfortunately I’ve only been using the half that somebody else wrote- so far. And in all likelihood I will only use my work for about 10 minutes, as it’s the Icing on the rather substantial piece of DE software we wrote. (We’re beta testing along the way). And the new design is the foundation of a new framework using .NET (again an improvement over what used to exist)
In other words eating our own dog food has been quite the experience.
But from what I hear (I’m a relatively new hire at this point) the current design is light years ahead of the old version that the poor shmucks had to use last year. And watching the software generate 300 lines of case/if statements for the interface that had to be hand coded last year makes me tend to believe that they may be right.
But the point is, for the last 3 days I’ve been duplicating work that was done by our client some where (as indicated by the 8 sheets of features for each product we’ve been given). And as most of the features are just slight wording variations on data received last year, or the year prior, I’m wondering at the usefulness of the fruits of my (not so cheap, nor not so expensive) labor.
Point: It may be a while before I fix the damned template.