A while back
I was volunteered to help our finance team customise their accounting system which finally I’ve got to the end, or at lest the end is now in sight. It was an interesting situation, a few years back the accounting use to be done in Access and a couple of years back they migrated to a solution provided by Netsuite. I have to say, when I started I spent ages complaining about how awkward and painful it was to do anything in Netsuite, but as I’ve done the journey I’ve come to understand a bit more and it’s not bad, it’s still massively complicated but it is at least not that bad!
One of the most frustrating things I found was using web services, I’d never done it before and on paper it sounded like the best solution, but it was a nightmare, the most annoying thing is the provided wsdl had errors in it, so I ended up having to spend some time finding the bad lines and fixing it from within vi thanks to this link. Needless to say after a few weeks of struggle I started down the right path which was to use more of Netsuite to do more and to write a simpler tool to do the rest.
Time for a rest
I found the rest-let’s which was a big help, use their documentation to work out roughly what to do and then hook it in and hope for the best. Its worth noting the Documentation is excessive and hard to follow, makes you wonder why they bother. Either way After writing that then spending some time trying to get that up and working it was there, just needed the other 7 pieces of the puzzle to make it work, Luckily you can call searches remotely to get a list of results and then manipulate them and send them back. I came up (with a lot of help from the finance team) a search that only returned entries I hadn’t yet changed and then took the details from that and manipulate it into the format I needed to post back to my rest-let to do the updating.
After sorting out the entry of data I then had to just work out how to invalidate the entry if anything was changed, this was harder, it took a bit of reading and then it was clear what to do, just impossible to find out how to do it! I must have spent more time on this project working out how the system worked and just using the tool rather than coding.
Bigger and better things
This initial step was an important one it sets the foundation for a raft of other changes that will hopefully be simpler and easier to put in place, but like anything unknown, we won’t know until we know. I’m looking forward to taking a system that already provides value and making it provide more, with reporting and customisations, hopefully over the coming weeks it progress to produce more useful information.
In short, Help people, sometimes it starts off being a pain but at least you help someone and you also learn something, yes it may lead to a flurry of other bits but, ask your self this. If you needed help, would you want someone to help you?