Sinister Sequel (case file)
Thu 26 May 2005, 08:58 AM
by Ben Langhinrichs
by Mike Midas, Ace Developer
I'm not the kind of guy who believes in love at first sight, but the sight of those legs was enough to change the kind of guy I am. Those legs were a harder act to follow than Babe Ruth at the plate, but when she turned, this dame made the Bambino look like some chump on a sandlot swinging at empty air. I followed her with my eyes, soaking in the view like an Italian sailor on the French Riviera. When I saw her stop in front of our office and turn to knock on the door, I genuflected in my mind to Father Michael, since his point was made - there was a God after all.
One sharp rap on the door left no doubt that here was a dame who expected to be noticed. I showed her into the office and she sat down without a word and looked at me for a minute with an odd expression in her eyes. Then she started, and intoxicated as I was with her low, sultry voice, I wasn't so drunk with pleasure that I missed the familiar lilt, like a re-run I'd watched with only half an eye on some sleepy summer afternoon.
"Mr. Midas? My name is Anika, and I believe we have talked before."
It all came rushing back like the unwelcome memory of a wild party spent with too many drinks and too few inhibitions, practicing ill-defined Tai Chi techniques with a woman you hoped wasn't married to your boss.
"From Uppsala Exports, right?" I asked, knowing full well, but trying to sound less shaken than a James Bond martini. I remembered our previous long distance encounter well, and I hoped she did not.
"Yes, of course", she said, with a tone of incredulity that said she was used to being recognized without question. "I spoke previously with your partner, Crystal, and she helped us considerably."
The implication that I had not done the same sat in the air like a cheap hairpiece on a sweaty, bald car salesman's head. I hesitated, thinking that this conversation was not taking the direction I had hoped, a direction which might well have included dinner, drinks and a hot tub with soft mood music if I had been steering. I obviously was not.
"This time, I need your help", she went on, and redemption peeked into the room like a horny ninth grade football player who has just discovered the adjoining girl's locker room. "As you will remember, our company has switched to Outlook and Exchange for e-mail, and only uses Lotus Notes for applications." She didn't sound much happier about this than she had before, but she didn't stop.
"My boss has decided we need to move some of our critical data out of Notes and store it in SQL Server.", she went on. The disgust in her voice made it clear she thought her boss was doing the TCO tango with Microsoft rather than making a sound technical decision. "The problem is, we have all these rich text fields, and we need to retain all the formatting and images."
The only images I wanted to retain were those of Anika with an easily untied string bikini, but I understood where she was heading.
Anika continued, "Some of the rich text is pretty complex, and everything we have tried, saving it as MIME and grabbing that, rendering with Domino and retrieving it from there, and even exporting to DXL and converting that, have failed miserably, with broken references, a totally messed up look and feel and lots of missing information. We don't need messes, we need high quality HTML or XHTML that looks right. Anyway, my boss was playing golf with a buddy of his and moaning and groaning about his trouble, and the guy said just one word: Midas."
I smiled to myself, back in my element. "So, you want to generate HTML, or maybe even XHTML, from all those rich text fields and store it in SQL Server", I asked, " and you want the images saved as files that can be stored and referred to by the HTML?" I was on a roll, and wasn't going to stop yet, so when she nodded, I kept right on going. "And I bet you also want the sections to work, and the tabbed tables to work, and you probably even want the doclinks to still link between the HTML files that used to be documents? And you want o use our Midas Rich Text LSX to do the job? Do I have all that right?"
She nodded again more vigorously, but more than that, her eyes sparkled as if I had finally said something that reminded her that I was a man and she was a woman and that quitting time was not too far off. Then the look faded a bit, and she asked, "How long would all that take to build with Midas?" She had been around the computer industry long enough to know that anything was possible, but possible didn't mean fast, and time was money.
I smiled like an angler who has finally snagged a blue fin tuna, and now just needs to reel it in. "No problem, Anika. Midas does all that out of the box. We can get it working for you tomorrow."
The look came back, and her smile was a lot less ambiguous than the Mona Lisa's. "Well then, that leaves tonight free."
Copyright © 2005 Genii Software Ltd.