Case Study of CodeAssist

Miller Brewing Company

 Miller Brewing Company uses Sheridan's CodeAssist™
 to slash data access code development time

With over 44 million barrels of beer brewed and distributed to retail operations each year, Miller Brewing Company's developers have their hands full. Miller has distributors and retailers in over 100 countries across the globe, and not all of them have electronic reporting capabilities. One challenge Miller faces is managing critical sales information that has been sent in manually from around the world. Professional developers at Miller's headquarters in Milwaukee, Wisconsin began building a database of daily sales information from retailers, with the goal of making this information available to employees throughout the company.

The project, initially coded in Microsoft Access, soon grew to the point where it was unmanageable. Not only was the staff faced with crunching daily transaction data from numerous sources and retailers, but with holiday and special promotional event sales, the volume of data pouring into corporate headquarters was enormous. They were soon experiencing delays as the backlog of data awaited processing. Miller retail analysts needed faster turn around time for all of their sales data. They had to find a way to quickly and effectively publish sales information and reports on the company's intranet so that it could get out to the people who needed it.

 Multiple Languages and Data Sources
 No Problem With CodeAssist

Thirsting for a tool that would dramatically slash coding time, programmers at Miller decided to try Sheridan Software's CodeAssist. They were attracted to its flexibility, ease of use, and extensive library of over 200 examples of data access code. Dan Regalia, a sales automation specialist on the Miller team, was able to use CodeAssist to generate the complex code needed to modify the company's input/output routines. CodeAssist took just one day to learn, and within a week Dan was using it to do real work. Soon, he could generate critical data access code, test it and roll it out, all within one workday.

Dan's team wanted to combine an SQL Server-based back-end with a reporting system based on Active Server Pages. The SQL database was in place, all they needed to do was construct the ASP front-end. They had budgeted for one month to complete the project. CodeAssist provided them with much of the functionality they needed through its library of ASP code templates. With CodeAssist handling all the code for interaction with the SQL server, the only factors Dan had to deal with were formatting issues such as report format and screen color. CodeAssist's pre-generated code templates were error free, reducing the need to edit the project's database code. CodeAssist cut down on scripting, debugging and editing time by an estimated 70%. Not only did Dan's team beat their one-month deadline, they completed the entire project in just one week!

For the analysts at Miller Brewing, sales data from the company's intranet was made available in record time, providing the enhanced decision-making capabilities they needed. For programmers like Dan Regalia, CodeAssist gave them the ability to focus on their goal instead of worrying about the method they would use to achieve it.

 Generating Code On Demand

CodeAssist is designed to let professional and novice programmers generate robust, easily modifiable code in just a few easy steps. Its high performance code generation engine is framed by a set of intuitive GUI tools that make the process simple and straightforward. The program can generate code in any programming language, and comes with more than two hundred pre-built code templates in different libraries, including Visual Basic, SQL, C++, HTML and ASP. All the included code is professional quality, pre-tested and ready to run.

Using CodeAssist, the programmer creates re-usable Data Objects that can be assembled from single or multiple tables and queries within a database. (A Data Object is simply a logical collection of field names and attributes from one or more sources, optionally combined with some SQL syntax.) CodeAssist then combines these Data Objects with code templates to generate code tailored to the programmer's specific data environment. Programmers can modify the included templates, adding their own code where appropriate to create their own customized, reusable template libraries.

Data Objects make it easy to implement the same database functionality across several platforms. A programmer can use the same Data Object to generate code for Visual Basic, SQL, C++, Delphi, and ASP. Generated code can be displayed, copied to the clipboard or saved as one or more text files. Visual Basic add-in functionality means that code for the Visual Basic environment can be added directly to an open project. To create new code templates (or customize the existing ones) CodeAssist contains an integrated code editor with advanced features such as color-coding and auto-complete. Because the code generated by CodeAssist is based on modifiable templates, developers never sacrifice control over the quality of their code.

 CodeAssist A Valuable Tool

Dan Regalia, like other enterprise-level developers, needed to merge different data sources to show aggregated information to his users. CodeAssist's built-in database browser capabilities proved invaluable in helping him assemble the information he needed from various data sources. CodeAssist's ability to include both Access and SQL data was particularly valuable. For Dan, CodeAssist delivered on its goal of providing the fastest, simplest and most accurate way of generating database access code, with minimal effort on part of the programmer. As Dan says, "Information is power any way you look at it. The quicker you can push data out to the people, the quicker they can make more accurate decisions."

The people at Miller Brewing Company are experts at brewing efficiency. Sheridan Software's CodeAssist proved to be an ideal tool for them. It gave them results in keeping with their company's philosophy of finding the most efficient, innovative and effective ways to run their business.