Feb 19

Today: 19-Feb-2009: Visual Basic Strikes Back!

Category: today

Almost all of today was spent working on the Adobe Presenter based tool from yesterday. Surprisingly it isn’t working properly so I ended up working to fix it. The issue appears to be that some how on the same computer but different users, Internet Explorer behaved differently enough to cause an issue and prevent the system from working. I really at times wonder what was going on and how the same computer differs for different users. Another Windows mystery is born.

Luckily I could replicate the issue on my machine so I went to work to try to work out what was going wrong. It turned out that for some reason the Javascript in the web page wasn’t working properly. It also didn’t work in Firefox so I used it to debug the issue and get it to work properly. Once I had Firefox up and running I went back to Powerpoint to test. This time when I went through it managed to work fine and passed the point where it was blocking last time and it looked like everything worked. It said it uploaded and encoded everything fine before finishing up stating the it had successfully uploaded the file to the USQ Studydesk (our Moodle site name). It lied. At this point I fired up VB6 that I had installed in the morning and opened up the project. I put in some debugging statements to try and work out what was going wrong. At this point I tried to work out how to install it and having a look through all of the resources he copied over and noted that I couldn’t find the code used to make the installer. I wandered next door to the other guy from our department that went and asked him if he remembered anything about the installer. He didn’t so again we ventured to his office. He doesn’t have a phone connected in part due to his own lack of desire I think and allegedly doesn’t respond to email. So we went and visited and discovered that he hadn’t copied the installer code over. So we got him to copy the code over even though he protested that we didn’t have the software to use the code that he had written (it was written in PowerBasic, the truth of the statement also is in question because he wrote it as a part of our Distance Education Centre (DEC) and is now working for the Centre for Sustainable Catchments, so technically the licence for the software should be owned by DEC anyway).

With the install code I managed to work out what I needed to do to get my modified version working properly to test it. Eventually I tracked the problem down to poor URL parsing which broke when I added an extra field to track another value. I shifted this field and magically it started working again. Whilst doing this I also discovered that there is very little error checking in the VB app itself and it merely hopes that everything works and will turn out fine. Looks like another app to rewrite and likely more work for me.

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