Item Usage Utility

A utility to query the library information system.

Description: Part of my job duties include gathering statistical information from the library information system and compiling it into monthly reports. When I first started I was instructed on a manual way to gather the relevant information. This required an extremely redundant procedure with several steps and lots of room for small mistakes. I realized that the whole front end to the information system utilized the telnet protocol and I could probably create a program that would automate the procedure by working off a in input set of barcodes and outputting the relevant data somewhere.

I downloaded source code for the PuTTY telnet client and pulled out the protocol implementation they had written. I then created a wrapper class that would utilize the underlying protocol and provide me an easy interface to interact with the system. For handling the output I decided to use the OLE Automation provided through the Microsoft Excel application to programmatically dump the results into the spread sheet I was using for my report. In the end this is probably the biggest time saving application I have ever made. I use it every month and it turned a tedious and mistake prone task into a trivial one.

Tools: Visual C++ Pro, PuTTY source code, Microsoft Excel.

Topics: Socket programming, telnet protocol, OLE Automation.

Here is a screen shot of the introduction screen.

Item Usage Image 1

The application then searches for any open Excel spread sheets.

Item Usage Image 3

The user then enters all the information the program needs to run. This includes server location, user login credentials, and the parameters for the query.

Item Usage Image 4

Then the program is off and running. It pushes the input to the LIS server and then phrases the results returned for the relevant information.

Item Usage Image 5

Please contact me if you are interested in acquiring a copy of the program, seeing the source code, or have any comments.

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