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3 Jan 2018

2018 plans

in Technical Blog by Kae Verens

It’s been about 6 weeks since my last post. In that time, we concentrated mostly on identifying and closing as many bugs and other issues that we could, to bring 2017 to a satisfying end. We deliberately avoided adding new features, so that we could make sure the year ended with a tidy and clean field service job management software.
We got the entire team to point out everything they found to us, no matter how small. Near the end, it was almost like the Red Queen race in Through The Looking-Glass – we were fixing issues at the rate that we were finding them, to the point that I would also work on them at home and on the bus, just so I could keep ahead of the influx and get a sense of progress.

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”
“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Through The Looking-glass, by Lewis Carroll

We persevered, though, and finished the year with only the most obscure and unimportant bugs left to work on in the field service management software this year. I just checked and we completed 125 issues in December. That’s an incredible number of issues to complete in such a short time.
The most obscure of these was what we call a “sigma 6” issue – something that normally only one in a million developers might ever encounter. When we figured out the cause of the issue (a database lock that happened when a client tried to import thousands of jobs at once, and when that appeared to be slow, tried to do it again) and then solved the issue, there was a real sense of elation. Serious! We love solving problems.
One of my friends in Google says that because of the sheer volume of users that they have, they encounter these kinds of issue every day. He recalled one incident where a cosmic ray flipped a bit in a running process and caused a huge database to delete itself instead of simply adding a row as requested! The anecdote is on page 13 in this transcript. Luckily, we’ve never had anything like that happen, and it’s incredibly unlikely it ever will happen. As John said, how do you protect against cosmic rays?
I get bored at Christmas, so it’s generally the time when I get some work done on FieldMotion that I was too busy to work on during the rest of the year. So over this Christmas, I sat down and wrote a multilingual framework for the job management software. What that means? It means my personal account in FieldMotion is now in Irish, where anyone else viewing the system sees it in English.
Once I’m happy that I’ve gotten all the nooks and crannies that I can see, it’s a simple matter to extract the list of translation strings and pass them to a linguist to give me back German, French, Spanish, or whatever.
This is exciting for us, as it means not only that we can offer FieldMotion’s field service software in many different languages, but also that we can provide country-specific dialects (American English vs British English, for example), and even company-specific wording. As an example, one of our clients, a car-wash company, insisted that they wanted the word “Wash” used instead of “Job”, because they were afraid it might confuse their employees. We can provide that level of configurability now.
This coming year looks really exciting to us. Translations is just one of the things. We have a large internal document full of plans for the service management software solutions, which we’ll announce as they get close to completion. Contact us for more details!