The term Business Intelligence (BI) refers to technologies, applications and practices for the collection, integration, analysis, and presentation of business information. The purpose of Business Intelligence is to support better business decision making. Essentially, Business Intelligence systems are data-driven Decision Support Systems (DSS). Business Intelligence is sometimes used interchangeably with briefing books, report and query tools and executive information systems. Continue reading
As a developer using source control and git is bread and butter of what we do. Github is probably the most popular and widely known hosting service for source control but I have also used Bitbucket and Visual Studio Team Services. Lets have a look at each one and what they offer. Note while I have included prices I have only tried out the free versions. Continue reading
So recently I started working on a new codebase. I will be honest when I first saw it, it was a mess. Here are a few of the things I did to try and regain control.
I was given access to the source code on Visual Studio Team Services. However this consisted of a single commit 3 months ago. When I looked at what was running on the production server it was clear that changes were being made live with no regard for source control.
The first thing I did was commit everything that was running live into source control.
Next I created a SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) project to keep track of all the database objects. Previously there was a folder with some stored procedures in it, but these did not match with what was currently running.
I now had in source control the current state of the website and the database, so I knew I could get things back to this state if I made some bad changes.
Lets start by looking at the website code I had. There was no solution file, the only way to look at the website was to setup my local IIS to run what was in the website folder. I could then use Visual Studio to “open” my local IIS website and attach to process to debug it.
This meant that the website is not going to do anything without a backup of the database running, and meant my SSDT project was going to be vital. However the database was in a bad state, it consisted of a fair few broken objects and SSDT would not build.
Using find I went through each of the broken database objects to find where in the code they were being used. Luckily most were referenced in commented out code, so I just removed all the broken database objects. The database could now be built. However there was a dependency on the users table of another database. (This was the developers solution to sharing logins between websites) As I was using SSDT I added a database dependency, problem solved for now.
My solution was to use Find and Replace to replace all the $ with ‘ + CHAR(36) + ‘
So I now have a SSDT project that builds and publishes but still no website project.
To get the website running from Visual Studio I started off creating a .Net 4 website project and added Entity Framework 5 and MVC 3 via nuget. I then copied all the website code into the new project, and with a bit of work I got it to build. Most of the work was relating to namespaces and referencing the correct one and moving the EF model from AppCode to a custom named folder. A bit of trial and error later I had a version of the website that could be run from Visual Studio.
I have not deployed my new version of the website as it needs further testing. No automated testing or even a smoke test checklist currently exist.
As my source code is hosted on Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), I can get VSTS to build each commit and check I haven’t broken the build. This is not that helpful at the moment, hopefully one day I will have automated tests that can be run here as well.