Last Saturday there was a raffle held to benefit Fire Companies 15 (West End) and 49 (South Newton). Overall it was a big success, raising a bunch of money for both companies. I was in charge of the registration process - mostly.
In the beginning (almost a year ago) I thought I'd be in charge of everything - the software, the network, and getting everything working. A couple months later I found out they already had software - an Excel spreadsheet. I told them that the spreadsheet wouldn't work for registration since only one computer can edit it at a time. A little bit later I learned they were switching everything over to Access. "Not so bad," I thought. I didn't know anything about it, but I wasn't in charge of the software anymore, so I didn't worry to much. I just worried about my part - the wireless network and making sure the laptops could get to the Access file.
Well, this weekend I encountered a number of problems - all related to the software choice.
- Access opens a file. Think about that - there isn't a main SQL server - all database operations operate on the file. This includes searching. When there was more than one computer searching on the wireless network, everything crawled.
- Windows XP Home only allows 5 computers to connect to a share. Even if the above problem didn't exist, this one would have still kept things from working.
- Norton Firewalls block network connections. And I couldn't find a way to disable the firewall.
I think this year I'll have to take charge of the software and design a nice little LAMP app for them. I think the application will be simple and will give me a chance to flex some AJAX skills that I've been lacking in. And it'll work.