Dan Gowans My personal thoughts and mindless ramblings

New job, new computer, new tools

03.20.2010 · Posted in Software, Work

Just over a month ago, I made a big transition.  I changed jobs.  With that came a change in computers and a change in main programming languages.  I’m probably the youngest guy actively developing new COBOL code.

I’m getting used to the new development tools, but some things I just can’t handle.  Why develop in nano (pico) when there are so many other great text editors out there?  The problem is that my work machine has a program called Deep Freeze which prevents me from installing new applications.  What’s a guy to do?

Portable applications!  My home drive is “unlimited”, so if I save my applications there, I can run them as need be.  Perfect.

What applications can I just not accept, and what applications do I use instead?

COBOL and Simple Text Editing – PSPad

I’ve been using PSPad for a while now and am really comfortable with it.  With a tabbed interface for multiple files, syntax highlighting (including COBOL), and MOUSE SUPPORT, it would be a major step back to use anything else.

The available alternatives: m32, pico, Windows Notepad

Quick Pieces of Code – Eclipse (Java)

If I have to merge a folder of 100 CSV files into one file, am I going to learn how to get a file list in COBOL, iterate through it, reading each file line by line, and dumping it to a new file?  No.  In a fraction of the time, I can write about 30 lines of Java to do the same thing.

The available alternatives: Acubench (COBOL)

Image Editing – Paint.NET 2 Go

Part of my job involves supporting the programs I write, and the third-party software that the other staff uses.  Sometimes, a screenshot is enough of an explanation.  However, I often want to highlight part of the image by circling it.  Maybe Paint can do it, but I don’t really want to find out.

This one is not really portable.  It sits in my folder as a single executable.  When executed, it decompresses to the temporary folder to run.  On close, it cleans up its temp files.

The available alternatives: Windows Paint

File Decompression – 7-Zip Command Line

When I grabbed PSPad, it came as a CAB file.  I had nothing to extract it properly.  This did the trick.

The available alternatives: PeaZip

Data Massaging – SQLiteJDBC, DBVisualizer

After writing a CSV to SQLite converter in Java, I wanted to browse the database file.  DBVisualizer makes it easy to manipulate the data, then export it back out as CSV.

The available alternatives: Acubench, Excel

Bonus – PNotes Portable

One of my co-workers requested a way to have post-it notes on their desktop.  This program does just that.  It’s kind of slick too.  I may start using it too.

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