Ron Lusk on Wed Oct 12 14:05:41 2005

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[PhillyOnRails] Introductions

  • From: (Ron Lusk)
  • Subject: [PhillyOnRails] Introductions
  • Date: Wed Oct 12 14:05:41 2005

Ron Lusk

I started programming (for pay) in 1978, and in 1979 started a 20-year
career with Digital Equipment Corporation. Seven of those years I spent in
Massachusetts in Large System (36-bit) Software Engineering; the rest in
Pennsylvania as a consultant, working (by then) mostly with VAX/VMS and
(later) PC systems.

I first started programming for the web in 1995 or thereabouts, writing Perl
scripts to put my project's source code (Pascal, SQL Modules) live on the
LAN. I've written webapps in Perl, Java, Python, and now Ruby (and probably,
though not memorably, Pascal).

I'm the sole developer at the ACTS Retirement-Life Communities, working out
of our support center in Ambler, PA. We have about 20 communities from here
south all the way around to the Florida panhandle. I spend most of my time
maintaining (rewriting in Rails) a program for counting and identifying (and
billing) residents (and others) dining in our various locations, with an
occasionally-connected Swing-based client in various dining rooms, and a
server catching the uploaded data when the clients have a little time and
the network is up. The client uses a serial-port-based prox card scanner, so
I got a chance to write everything from the IO drivers (on top of the Java
Comm API) to the database.

I also manage most of the application/web servers (at least the Apache or
Tomcat ones), mess a bit with IBM WebSphere (migrating off as soon as we
can), write scripts for various administrative tasks, and provide a
persistent Linux pressure on the organization.

When we acquired a retirement community from another company recently, I was
asked to make the medical history of their residents available on
ournetwork (it had been on the other company's network). This involved
through several networks to the database server (Oracle), extracting 100MB
data (Ruby scripts run via rubyscript2exe), reloading the extracted data
into an MS SQL Server db, and then making that data available through a
Rails app (and adding LDAP-based authentication and authorization to the
app). FWIW, the Rails app uses a little AJAX to drive an autocompletion
search field. And because this was the sort of thing I'm here to do, it gets
a ho-hum when deployed.

I got into Rails because it was another language and framework, and I've
learned/used dozens of languages to see what benefits they had. So far, I
haven't found much I can't do with Ruby, except to get access to our single
Interbase database (still working on that: I don't have an ODBC driver yet).
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