Concepts and Understanding

Posted at 10:06:19 PM in Definitions (2)

This from Smashing Magazine author Inayaili de Leon in his article CSS Specificity and Inheritance. A favorite and should be among quotable quotes: "The concepts may be hard to grasp and look boring at first, but understanding them and knowing how to take advantage of them is important." This should be the opening line to any science or math class and certainly applies to any programming course of study. My only issue...

Where do you find the basic concepts? It seems that every author out there writes books "by example." We going to learn Basic (replace by any programming language in existence) programming today. Lets start by writing a program that says "Hello World." From that point on the narrative spirals down into a mass of coding examples that teach nothing, well; almost nothing. My first experience in coding was a book on Basic. It was a cookbook on every ingredient in the Basic coding language. Rather than use a simple end product to give an example of straight forward programming, showed a command like PRINT and then gave an example of how to use it. It never provided an end product that I was never going to use. I read that entire 500 page book in less than 4 hours and started programming right after I put it down. I can't find those books anywhere, but learning how to code by example leave a huge empty spot in understanding the concepts.

Written by Leonard Rogers on Saturday, October 26, 2013 | Comments (0)

Vertical Market

Posted at 9:15:07 PM in Definitions (2)

Here is an excellent article wiki. Vertical market software is any software that is written for a specific industry for a specific task. Generally, these handle the sales or operations side of business. Those that deal with sales sometimes try to provide a full accounting package, but often fail when those packages don't integrate with the CPAs software. Those that don't usually try to provide some kind of export of sales that can be imported into other accounting software.

Some examples:

Fostertrak - software for managing Foster child placement. The primary functions of this software is to track the child, the family they are placed with, registered families and available beds, all the medical and registration requirements as well as the county assignments. I'm not sure if FosterTrak is used anywhere but in California. The accounting interface as far as I can tell only tracks what the county is due to pay the Foster care agency.

MaintStar - That may not be the name of the software anymore, but it was designed to track maintenance requirements for equipment in any organization that runs a preventative maintenance program. This program is strictly internal and has no billing associated with it.

Cargowise - Software for managing exports. It manages the paper work involved with customs and tariffs and tracks the product from Shipper through the shipping facility to consignee through customs, door to door, port to port. There is massive overhead involved with the paper work and all the hands involved with shipping overseas and this program helps manage that. It has an integrated billing system which produces an invoice and attempts to manage the billing, but it is very complicated. With that complication in mind most customers don't want to use it for managing orders for office supplies even though Cargowise claims they can do that within their software. They also claim to be able to export the invoicing to external packages, but I don't know of anyone actually doing that.

Accounting software can also be considered vertical market, but there are two or three packages which can be purchased off the shelf and then customized to fit most small businesses. These are NOT vertical market software: Peachtree (Sage) and QuickBooks. 

Note: Sage software made a move to eliminate the Peachtree name and now calls their new software which is still Peachtree, Sage 50. I'm not sure if that's a move to remove the software from retail shelves. 

Generally, you can tell you are involved with vertical market software when you can't find any pricing information and can't buy it without a salesman. Sage took over another accounting software called ACCPAC which was written to be customizable in Visual Foxpro. Every part of the software needed to be quotes individually and then the user licenses. Salesmen for this software were involved directly with programmers that could customize the accounting software to meet the end users needs. The problem with any customized and often any vertical market software is you can never get rid of the programmer which comes at a premium. My last involvement with ACCPAC was to install modules for EDI and interface the Royalty software (also vertical market) so the thousands of royalty checks that had to be written did not have to be re-entered by hand.

Written by Leonard Rogers on Saturday, August 31, 2013 | Comments (0)