Senior CM Developer
Andrew’s work with ICL Pathway covered two main areas. Andrew’s primary activity has been that of developing tools using Visual Basic to interface with Merant’s PVCS Dimensions product; and of enhancing and maintaining a proprietary configuration management system written using Visual C++ and MFC, with a mixture of SQL Server and Access databases. Concurrently with these tasks Andrew designed and constructed ICL Pathway’s Configuration Management IT infrastructure.
Andrew’s most recent work for ICL Pathway Configuration Management (CM) has been the design and development of a number of tools for use both within the CM department and the rest of the company. These tools interface directly with the Solaris-hosted PVCS server and Oracle database (through ODBC), and allow for the speeding-up and automation of numerous tasks with a level of accuracy that cannot be achieved with the comparatively restricted PVCS client. All of these tools are written in Visual Basic and the interface to PVCS is via its command-line interface (its published API is not available to NT clients). The tools Andrew has developed also make extensive use of third-party custom controls (OCX) where appropriate and other such standard NT facilities as FTP. The source code for these tools is held in MS SourceSafe which is permanently linked-in with the Visual Basic development environment.
Andrew has also developed a number of Unix shell scripts to drive PVCS from the server command line, and has written software to auto-generate these shell scripts on an NT workstation and upload and run them on the Solaris server via HummingBird Exceed as and when required.
Using Solaris C, and developing through CDE, Andrew has prototyped a number of changes to the standard PVCS Solaris server runtime library. These modifications take the form of triggers (also called event callouts) which are used to automatically either dump or modify the contents of internal PVCS structures as required. In this way certain rules which are not readily supported by PVCS can be defined and enforced by the CM department.
Prior to this Andrew was maintaining and enhancing ICL Pathway’s proprietary configuration management product, Data Controller. This had been developed on NT using Visual C++ and MFC. At its back-end Data Controller had a mixture of Access and SQL Server databases, and the interface to these was via DAO and ODBC respectively. This tool’s usage was comparatively short-lived and it was soon replaced with PVCS.
Concurrently with the above development tasks Andrew was responsible for the design and implementation of ICL Pathway’s Configuration Management IT infrastructure, known within the organisation as CM-DOMAIN. This consists of 9 NT servers and 2 Solaris servers, split across 3 Windows NT domains and 2 physical sites. The NT servers are a mixture of Compaq ProLiant and Fujitsu, and Andrew’s work included their physical construction and configuration with SmartStart as well as the subsequent installation of the operating system and services – including NT Server, NT Terminal Server, Citrix WinFrame, SQL Server and PVCS. Andrew designed and successfully implemented backup and disaster recovery strategies for the department, and with core time availability greater than 99.5% this rapidly became (and still is) ICL Pathway’s most reliable domain. It acts as a central repository for all the programme’s SourceSafe (VSS) and PVCS data, together with an email archive (for audit trail purposes) and a general file server.
Andrew has documented all of the above, and the documentation itself resides on the CM website which Andrew designed and implemented using FrontPage, although many others have since contributed to its content. With his wide range of skills, Andrew fast established a reputation for himself as being one of the people to approach for help on any technical problem within ICL Pathway.