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TakeCommand "evangelism" -- how?

Discussion in 'Support' started by mikea, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. mikea

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    I'd be interested to hear from others in the forum: have you ever had to do a selling-job to get 4NT or TakeCommand accepted within your company? If so, and if you succeeded, how did you pull it off?

    For a long time I worked at a large software company whose primary in-house scripting "technology" was...batch files. I'd used JP Software products since shortly after 4DOS appeared and was totally sold on JPS products. Yet in all the time I worked for the software company, there was literally only one manager whose attention I could get, once I'd shown her what a powerful yet easily-maintained build system we could have via 4NT scripting. She got it — quickly. She was enthusiastic about it. Off we went with some good 4NT-based build routines.

    Then she was replaced and it all went to hell in a handbasket. Every manager afterward flat-out rejected the very idea of using anything other than .cmd files. I took a stab at a presentation to show even just the tip of the 4NT iceberg. I didn't even get a third of the way through it before some dweeb tossed it all aside, saying (with a snort): I can do that with a batch file. That was all he needed to stop listening.

    With the literal exception of the one manager, nearly every other employee at that company to whom I showed 4NT couldn't have been less interested — they all returned to "I can do that with a batch file," when in fact there's a whole lot that would be near-impossible in a .cmd file without a bunch of executables (and some ugly "for" loops). Near-impossible, or just freaking irritating. No matter — they went back to their bloody-awful .cmd-file-driven batch processes and were none the wiser.

    So clearly my evangelism had been third-rate at best. I was similarly unsuccessful at another software company later on: nobody even replied to requests to have a JP Software command processor shown to them. Software-company minds seemed to slam shut, one after another. (On the other hand, builders to whom I showed my build processes were pretty impressed by what you can do with .btm files. It was everyone who didn't run builds who refused to listen.)

    By now I'm more or less used to the minds-slamming-shut phenomenon — "automatic NO," I call it — but I sure don't understand it.
     
  2. mikea

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    Moving a conversation from another thread to this one:

    Well, there is that. On the other hand, way back in the days when 4DOs wasn't all that old yet, all it took was for me to look at a list of its features just once to be sold on it, instantly -- even before I'd tried using it. The advantages were immediately obvious -- what advantages it would confer on anyone who needed to do a lot of scripting. As I think I mentioned before, builders who saw the scripts I'd put together with 4NT (years later) were immediately impressed by the language. They had to cope with a ghastly set of .cmd files whose original author hadn't bothered to do much error-checking or document one damned thing about what he was doing.

    (Naturally, he went on to start rising up the management chain, as a "dev manager." Right. Don't get me started...) Some of the .cmd files were all but unmaintainable -- so much so, that in some cases the internal support team flat-out refused to support that stuff.

    Right there you have a 4NT/TCC advantage: considering the extensive and well-written help file...well, there's support right there. And you have, for example, functions that "say their names" -- as opposed to bizarre, arcane syntax requiring "for" loops, a la cmd.exe. You'd hope someone would comment his scripts, but even without too many comments you can still tell what they're doing much more easily than is the case with .cmd files containing all sorts of hacks for "for" loops and the like. (And of course those poor guys had to get developers to write "one-dumb-job" tools for them, such as one that could do search/replace in environment variables. I just ran my little "%@replace[]" routines and felt sorry for 'em.)

    How those poor builders suffered with their awful .cmd files. I expect they took a look at the superior error-checking (and many other) possibilities with 4NT, and wished like crazy that they could use it. If it had been up to them, they would likely have approved it. I mean, a batch file IDE with watches and breakpoints. HELLO!? -- how cool is that? But it was their managers who refused to listen to anything about getting better tools. And there's where the need arises for someone with the soul of an evangelist.

    I'm probably at nearly the age where I'm not employable by large corporations any longer : ( -- though I'd best keep trying. If if/when I'm in that kind of corporate situation again, I expect I'll run into the "we don't need any new tools" problem again.
     

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