Computer Related > Computer file name conundum Computing Issues
Thread Author: zippy Replies: 5

 Computer file name conundum - zippy
Our new back office system (cost £ms) refuses to talk to our transaction processing system. It's nothing new, we are a bank of course.

The new system will take text files, posted to a folder on a shared drive. No more than 100 transactions can be listed in the text file. (There are astronomical numbers of transactions a day).

The file name is limited to 4 characters alpha characters for example DCBA. The next file in sequence would be DCBB etc. Apart from giving over 450,000 possible combinations of file name, is there any other reason why such a silly sequence is demanded. 0001, 0002 would be so much easier to automate via our batch processing system? Or, is it to keep programmers employed?

(BTW, file numbers can be re-used, thank goodness or we would run out after a few days.)
 Computer file name conundum - smokie
Any old skool programmers who can count in hexadecimal will tell you that you get a lot more "numbers" by using letters as well. Hex counts 0, 1, 2. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, a, b c, d, e, f, 10, 11

It was important in it's day, when every bit of storage genuinely mattered. FF being 256 (or 255, thereabouts anyway) took 1 less bit to record than it's decimal equivalent. FFFF was 65535 which might be a number many old timers remember for a whole host of reasons. ( I think it was the max number of colours on a screen in one of the older graphics formats, then it became 16m)

I doubt that's' exactly your reason but it'll be something along those lines - with 4 letters only you have 26x26x26x26 unique filenames before you runn out, far greater than 9999. More if you use the numbers too.

I have to say, that is the least of your problems if the rest of your description is accurate!!
 Computer file name conundum - zippy

I am in a halfway house when it comes to IT. I am the department designated expert. Have earned money from IT and have developed programs long ago, in the days when Pascal was very green screen.

Wrote a very simple 65,536 item stock system on an 8kb 8 user (screens) Altos CP/M machine and the we had to use 1 byte integers. Multiplying two integers together gave us the 65,536 options we needed at the time.

There is no apparent reason for the naming restriction. It's a modern system written in a modern high level language.

I can only think the file import component was developed for a legacy system and just copied over.
I could understand the limitations if some form of check digit was used, but there are none.

Several major banks use the same two packages and I guess have the same problems.
 Computer file name conundum - Falkirk Bairn
>>8 user (screens) Altos CP/M machine

I knew a chap who sold computers running Pick operating system - a 386 PC, 640K memory could support a large number of async terminals (Televideo 922) & printers,

A legal firm in Glasgow typing pool had 20+ dumb terminal users running on an IBM 386 PC - wiring 20 serial cables into the back of a PC was an art. Then along came Spider systems (& others) that could connect dumb terminals to ethernet and made life easier.

 Computer file name conundum - hawkeye
>> Any old skool programmers who can count in hexadecimal will tell you that you get
>> a lot more "numbers" by using letters as well. Hex counts 0, 1, 2. 3,
>> 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, a, b c, d, e, f, 10, 11

Olivetti's accounting machines of the '70s used 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, j, k l, m, n, o. Notice the cunning use of l and o. Italian engineers; what would we do without them?

 Computer file name conundum - zippy
e***** IT companies.

The example I gave above was very simplified and the file name included letters, numbers and symbols that increased at different rates.

As a favour to the project team I spent some time decoding the file names to decimal numbers for loops and then re-encoding the decimal numbers back to names. We put test batches through last week and they worked quickly and flawlessly.

Another set of test batches today and they are not working.

Call the help desk. The file name format changed over the weekend and they told their customers a year ago via a service bulletin!

We weren’t a customer for this product a year ago we were using the specifications document you issued as being up to date at the start of this project in January!

Are there any other surprises! I feel a project manager needs to sit down with the vendor to sort this!

I’m spitting feathers as I didn’t have the time to do the favour in the first place!
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