I’m Graham Smith and this is how I work August 31, 2015Posted by Duncan in How I work, TW.
I’m genuinely delighted that Graham Smith has added his profile to our ‘How I Work‘ series. Not just because he’s one of the World’s best known PeopleSoft experts, or just because he’s recently joined Cedar’s family of PeopleSoft consultants, but mainly because I was sure he’d give some really interesting answers.
For those who don’t know Graham, he led the PeopleSoft Technical Team at Oxfam for longer than he’d want me to reveal, before his recent move to Cedar where many more customers can now benefit from his talents. He’s also an Oracle ACE Director, Chair of the UKOUG PeopleSoft Tech Committee, multi-occasion OOW speaker (including this year), runs a well-known PeopleSoft blog and is a thoroughly nice chap.
Name: Graham Smith
Occupation: I work for Cedar Consulting specialising in PeopleSoft. I get involved in design, development, infrastructure, integration, project management and dreaming up new ideas and solutions.
Location: I live and work in the wonderful, university city of Oxford in the United Kingdom.
Current computer: Dell E5550 but a lot of my work is done on cloud based machines.
Current mobile devices: Samsung Galaxy S6 running Android Lollipop (5.0.2) and a Moto G – Android (5.0.2)
I work: Enthusiastically
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
1) ClipCache – This is my number 1 application and I’ve come to rely heavily on it. This simple PC tool remembers EVERYTHING I copy into the Windows clipboard. I can search and organise every clip that’s ever hit my clipboard.
2) Beyond Compare – One of the best folder and file compare tools around. Since v3, Beyond Compare has supported 3 way compare. Great for comparing old-demo with new-patched-demo alongside your customised code. Also indispensable for keeping web, app and batch server file systems in synch.
3) UltraEdit – Simply the best text editor I know. Has a PeopleCode and SQR syntax highlighter and can be easily programmed to be aware of app and batch server cfg files. There are free editors (like Notepad++) but none of them come close to this superbly engineered editor.
4) SQL formatter – For those monster SQL statements.
5) soapUI – Superb web service testing tool.
6) Fiddler – http proxy to help discover what your browser is sending and receiving.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I don’t need gadgets… unless you include my glasses (can’t read without them).
What’s your workspace like?
When I’m working at home my office is an old converted shed at the bottom of my garden. This is my commute to work:
My desk is a £20 refurb from Emmaus and has on it the following items….. a toy train, a model of an ancient cedar tree from Lebanon, an old PeopleSoft clock, a ruler from the 1980’s that can measure dots-per-inch, a Hot-Wheels car, a copy of Jim Marion’s PeopleTools: Tips & Techniques, an OTN members badge, a signed copy of PeopleSoft for the Oracle DBA by Dave Kurtz, a photo of my wife and kids, 2 bags of Fair Trade coffee, a fan and a Netgear hub. I hear every train that passes by as the main line to London is only 20 metres away.
What do you listen to while you work?
Quite happy with silence…. but I often switch on Radio 2 or UCB Radio later in the day. When I worked at Oxfam I sat opposite my friend Steve who has an alarming 120db sneeze although the Class 43 diesels doing 125mph close to my home office are a good substitute.
What PeopleSoft-related productivity apps do you use?
1) I write and debug a lot of SQL and find SQL Pretty Printer from Gudu Software very helpful. There’s a standalone version that works with SQL from most platforms and one that’s very nicely integrated into Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio. Essential for navigating long complex statements.
2) I also think the Google Chrome PS Utilities extension from Uffe Graakjae is a useful tool for developers and analysts.
3) The Application Designer Debugger is a very useful tool, often overlooked and underused. Don’t wait until you need this before you set up the infrastructure to support it.
4) TraceMagic from Oracle Support Team is very useful for navigating heavily nested code in trace files.
Do you have a 2-line tip that some others might not know?
My tip is more of an observation. “All system failures are caused by the things that we put in place to protect us from system failures”. Test this …. and you’ll find it’s true – most of the time.
What SQL/Code do you find yourself writing most often?
I find myself querying PeopleTools meta-data most often. This is at the heart of what makes PeopleSoft applications so successful, agile and extensible. Genius software engineering!
What would be the one item you’d add to PeopleSoft if you could?
Code completion for PeopleCode in Application Designer. It’s partially there in 8.54 it just needs to support Application Package Classes and Methods. Also, how about adding a visual object explorer into Application Designer for delivered and custom objects and app packages. At a glance, you could see what methods, properties, functions, variables were defined in a code window.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Oh my. Hard question. I can balance on one leg on an empty coke can. Does that count?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Love the Lord God with all your heart and soul and love your neighbour as yourself.