My Tools at Work (Web/dB Admin)

I have recently started a new job – one focused on IT rather than on libraries.

What a change of career path (yay!).

This is not exhaustive of all the tools at my disposal, but I do want to list a few of them here just to frame the big move away from library technology to web and database administrative tools in my new context.

The main web content is managed by Cascade’s CMS. This platform is a GUI representation of the web server that allows for a ‘WYSIWYG‘ interaction with the web content, but that also allows for full code access to the HTML and CSS – which is mostly how I have been interacting with the content therein.

The databases are all set up in MS Access or MySQL dBs. For the newer ones, those set up on MySQL, these are managed via phpMyAdmin. We do plan to move away from Access to MySQL for various reasons, but that is a project for the future. Maybe I will get to write something about it here at the blog.

The rest are of course in MS Access.

There is a large amount of Cold Fusion implemented across the system, legacy applications and things. Not uncommon in the world to have a spectrum of code in use – and Cold Fusion is still being developed by Adobe. But there are other reasons that we will be looking closely at the future of CF in our situation.

The use of Cold Fusion adds another layer to the infrastructure, that of the Cold Fusion Administrator dashboard. This layer manages the connections between the Cold Fusion code and applications, the results of those applications on what happens on the website, and the databases (a combination of MySQL and Access) that hold all the data used by those applications, <cfquery>s and the like.

My default computer is a MacBook Pro, but because we need to use Access so much, I also have a Windows 10 PC with mapped drives because Access requires a Windows PC. I also have a nice iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil and Bluetooth keyboard case. Awesome! I spend very little time actually logging into the Windows 10 machine because I can use remote desktop to get into the PC from the MAC. It is just easier to keep all the daily workflows on one machine. (The only caveat is that sometimes it is easier to open the mapped drives and the Access MDBs on the huge screen my PC has…)

In terms of tools and configurations on my MAC: I make use of: Atom, Python3x, Sublime Text, git, zsh (as opposed to the default BaSH) and an array of things I simply prefer, such as Brave Browser and Signal Messenger desktop app.

At some point, we will point our systems to only MySQL dBs, and that will be our first major effort as part of larger strategies (among a few significant projects related to moving applications away from Cold Fusion as well as making more use of git). These are key projects for my employer and I very much look forward to helping and learning through the work. There is much plan and change planned and expected.

I am grateful to the Lord for such a gig. It makes use my my skills and provides a really decent opportunity to grow those skills.