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   Python to the rescue
Wednesday, May 13 2020
Alex and I had a nearly two-hour-long meeting with the Ukranians this morning, mostly because Morning Dave (who, though retired, still works for the company as a consultant) was trying to find out what exactly was needed regarding a GIS integration. GIS stands for Geographic Information System, and anything involving it ends up mired in a web complexities related to all the different layers and APIs, which vary depending on the client. Whenever Morning Dave talks about it, I fall swirling into the words, like the adults in Peanuts if the kids (as well as Snoopy) had all taken LSD (and I mean that in a bad way). A particularly tricky issue came up later involving the editing of entities that exist in date ranges. What should happen to subsequent entity items when a superuser edits something in the history? It ended up being such a brain-bender that Alex reminded the Ukranians that it was nearly quitting time for them and they could soon drink alcohol. We, on the other hand, had a whole day left. "If you think this is water," said Roman, pointing at his bottle, "you're mistaken." We had a good laugh.

At some point today, I began building a tool to help me automate a bunch of boring work. I needed database diagrams to explain to the Ukranians how things should work, but none of the diagramming tools I had were up to the job. The built-in diagramming tool in Microsoft's Sql Server Management Studio cannot export .png files for embedding in other documents. Meanwhile, Dia, the multipurpose diagramming tool I've been using to create embeddable diagrams, cannot import table descriptions from a SQL Server database. Of all the database diagramming tools I've used (besides, perhaps, the one I created for the MySQL called TableForm), Dia is my favorite. If I could just import into it from SQL Server, I'd have what I needed. I'd already determined that Dia stores files in an XML format. So it should've been possible to write a Python script to read a SQL Server schema and produce a Dia .dia document from it. I made great progress on this today, successfully creating a Python script to create a .dia file from a single table. It should be easy to make this script loop through any amount of tables that I want it to. Over the past year or so, I've become something of a Python convert. When writing quick-and-dirty scripts to get shit done, Python is often the easiest way to go.
At some point today I went on a small loop through the forest between the Farm Road and the Stick Trail entirely north of the Chamomile. I didn't go far because Diane the Cat was following me, and I'd have to stop periodically to let her catch up. Not many cats are inclined to follow me this way, but we've had at least three that have: Lulu, Clarence, and now Diane.


Diane in the woods.


Amid the lesser cairns. Click for a wider view.


The way the tall cairn northeast of the Stick Trail-Chamomile crossing is looking.


For linking purposes this article's URL is:
http://asecular.com/blog.php?200513

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