Fitzsimon IT Consulting Pty Ltd

Technology Highlights

See also

Project History Mike Fitzsimon

Mike Fitzsimon is an innovative Systems Architect with many years experience developing creative software solutions to complex problems. These range from office automation systems for small business to large-scale, high-availability, enterprise-wide systems for large corporations and government.

This page provides details of Mike’s involvement in major system development projects.

Active Directory Clean-Up Project

Logan City Council, 2005

LCC had undergone many corporate restructures over many years. The result was a multitude of security groups with near-duplicate membership, and redundant access permissions to network folders and SQL Server database objects (tables, views and stored procedures).

Mike was engaged to develop a number of tools to pull together data from Active Directory, the network file system and SQL Server databases for analysis.

Technical Environment

Windows Server 2003, SQL Server 2000, Visual Studio .NET

Responsibilities

As a solo developer, Mike:

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Corporate Directory based on SharePoint Portal Server

Logan City Council, 2005

LCC required a Corporate Directory (intranet) to store and publish staff lists (including photos), equipment registers (eg mobile phones), building assets etc.

Mike was engaged to develop the Corporate Directory using SharePoint Portal Server. While selected staff members were given permission to maintain data lists using the traditional SharePoint interface, the majority of users accessed the data via custom ASPX pages. These provided a consistent look and feel to the rest of LCC’s intranet.

Technical Environment

SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Visual Studio .NET, ASP.NET, VB.NET, Windows Server 2003

Responsibilities

As a solo developer, Mike:

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International Intranet based on SharePoint Portal Server

Runge Mining, 2004

Runge Mining is Australia’s largest group of mining engineering consultants. They have offices across Australia, plus international operations in the USA, Canada, South America, Malaysia and South Africa. A significant part of their business is the development of mine planning software.

Mike was engaged to develop Runge Mining’s international intranet using SharePoint Portal Server. The aim was to improve corporate communication, document management and collaboration between project teams scattered across the globe.

Technical Environment

SharePoint Portal Server 2003, Windows Server 2003, SQL Server 2000, Visual Studio .NET, ASP.NET, VB.NET

Responsibilities

As a solo developer, Mike:

Some example screen shots of the completed SharePoint Portal are available at http://www.fitzsimon.com.au/News/NewsRungeMining.htm.

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Data Conversion for LicenceTrack

NZ Dept of Internal Affairs and Customer Management Technologies, 2004

The DIA’s responsibilities include the tracking of all gaming licences in New Zealand. Licences are issued for gaming venues, gaming machine manufacturers, gaming software, individual gaming machines and casino staff.

All licences were recorded in a Lotus Notes system until 2004, when CMT sold their Oracle-based LicenceTrack product to DIA.

Mike was engaged by CMT to carry out an ETL (Extract, Transform & Load) project to move DIA’s existing data from Lotus Notes to the new Oracle database.

Technical Environment

Lotus Notes, XML, MS Access, SQL Server 2000, Oracle

Responsibilities

As leader of a three-man team, Mike:

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Development of a Strategic IT Plan

Napier & Blakeley, 2003-2004

Napier & Blakeley is a national firm of property and construction consultants with 110 staff in six offices across four states. Their services include quantity surveying, taxation depreciation schedules and technical due diligence reports on properties.

As a result of the earlier work on WebLink (see below), it was noted that the organisation was lacking a Strategic IT Plan to govern any proposed re-development and its interfaces to other systems. Mike and a partner were engaged to develop N&B’s Strategic IT Plan.

Responsibilities

As a member of a two-man team, Mike:

Mike was solely responsible for the production of all the Visio diagrams (DFDs, workflow diagrams etc) in the finished document.

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Documentation of Intellectual Property (WebLink)

Napier & Blakeley, 2003

WebLink is Napier & Blakeley’s internal job management system. The database is also the primary repository of data on Staff, Timesheets, Properties and Client-Contact details. The system had been developed in-house and had evolved over 18 months as processes and management reporting requirements matured.

Management were concerned that the intellectual property represented by the current system was completely undocumented.

Technical Environment

The three-tier system had been developed with Apple WebObjects. The presentation layer consisted of WebObjects web (IIS) pages. The applications servers were running WebObjects components. The database was SQL Server. The developers had considerable experience with WebObjects but very little with SQL Server.

WebLink also exported Debtor and Invoice data to the accounting system (MS Great Plains).

Responsibilities

Drawing on his skills with SQL Server, Mike was engaged as solo developer to create a Technical Design Specification of the “as-built” WebLink system. The 70-page TDS included:

  1. Processes, a description of the business processes supported by the system,
  2. Data, complete table and file definitions, including a description of each field, (including both what it was originally designed to contain and what it actually contains today) and
  3. Technology, specification of development tools, coding conventions, production hardware and software environments and interfaces to other systems.
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Exhibition Booking System

Organisers International, 2003-2004

Organisers International is an "event management" company organising and promoting Trade Shows, Award Events and Exhibitions including several high profile travel expos, home shows and money and property expos.

Mike was engaged to completely redevelop their exhibition booking system to support multiple users and multiple exhibitions with a shared database on a network server. Their previous system supported only one user and one exhibition.

Technical Environment

The new system was developed in Access XP (2002). It took full advantage of snapshot (read-only) recordsets, where applicable, to maximise network performance.

A significant data take-on (ETL or Extract, Transform & Load) function was built to convert existing databases into the new, re-designed central database.

Responsibilities

As a solo developer, Mike undertook business analysis, requirements analysis, quoting and negotiation with the client, coding, testing and user training.

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Responsible Gambling website
Gambling Community Benefit Fund website

Queensland Treasury, 2003

Queensland Treasury required redevelopment of these two websites: www.responsiblegambling.qld.gov.au (all new content, went live in June 2003) and www.gcbf.qld.gov.au (mainly conversion of existing content, went live in July 2003). The new sites were to comply with the Queensland Government’s consistent user experience guidelines (CUE) with emphasis on layout, navigation and accessibility.

Technical Environment

Both sites were developed in Dreamweaver utilising Templates and library items. JavaScript was used for expandable and collapsible menus which degrade gracefully in older or JavaScript-disabled browsers. Some information request and feedback forms interacted with a Lotus Domino server to direct e-mail from the website to the required contact person.

Responsibilities

As a solo developer, Mike

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OzEvents website, COM components and database

2000, 2002

OzEvents is a website designed to provide organisations (eg, sporting clubs, community groups, associations, theatre groups, etc) with their own website to display details of their events (eg, games, competitions, performances) as well as the participants in these events (eg, teams, players, performers). It also provides for display of information articles (eg, newsletters, products, services)

A significant requirement was the ability to support high traffic load at times of major events such as the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the Goodwill Games.

Technical Environment

The system was implemented on a "farm" of web (IIS, ASP) and application servers (COM components running under MTS) and a database server (SQL Server), all hosted at an ISP’s data centre. In order to achieve the throughput and scalability required, VB code and T-SQL stored procedures were written to take maximum advantage of object re-use and database connection pooling.

Responsibilities

Mike was the architect of the n-tier system, conducting the requirements analysis, planning the project, designing the database and leading the development team of 4 developers over a 4-month period.

Mike’s earlier code generator experience was used on this project.

2002

Mike was later engaged to move the OzEvents web site from one ISP to another. This meant an upgrade from SQL Server 7 to SQL Server 2000, a move from Windows NT 4.0 servers to Windows 2000 servers plus changes to some ASP code. This also involved upgrading the COM components to COM+ and the ADO code from version 2.1 to 2.7.

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IMS, Integrated Management System

SecurityMail, 1998-2000

This 8 man-year development was a high-availability, secure n-tier intranet and database system for SecurityMail's control over quoting, job creation, material handling, scheduling and job tracking.

The system was required to be flexible and easily reconfigurable as business processes changed.

Technical Environment

The presentation layer consisted of ASP pages and a number of Visual Basic applications. API, Security, Business Logic and Data Services layers were implemented as DCOM and COM components running under MTS. The main database was SQL Server 7. Data was passed between the layers as disconnected hierarchic ADO recordsets.

The system was implemented on high-availability Windows NT Cluster Servers in the Brisbane and Sydney offices. This project was a successful implementation of the DNA technologies demonstrated by Microsoft's Duwamish Books Phase 3.5 example.

Rational Rose and UML were used to document the requirements and in the system design phase.

An innovative code generator was developed to read metadata from the database and re-generate the more than 6000 stored procedures and VB source code modules for most of the COM components whenever the database schema needed to be modified. This allowed the system to quickly respond to changing requirements as it was implemented in different branches. Generating the system code in this way not only dramatically cut down the development time but also simplified testing.

Responsibilities

Mike was the architect of this system and leader of the development team (2 analysts plus 4 developers). He was involved with the earliest Requirements Analysis right through to the end-user training, over a two-year period.

Mike designed and built the database, its tables, indexes, stored procedures and DTS packages for import and export of data to and from other operational systems (AccPac, Attaché, Access and Oracle on Sun/Solaris).

Mike also designed and developed the code generator.

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SecurDOCS

Various clients including Primus and Westpac, 1999

SecurDOCS is a web-based electronic document storage and retrieval service provided by SecurityMail. The documents could be either TIFF files scanned from originals (such as survey forms, vouchers or other customer response pieces) or PDF files generated as a by-product of SecurityMail’s UNIX-based printing and mailing processes (invoices, statements etc).

Responsibilities

Mike’s involvement was the analysis and design of the processes by which C programs running on the UNIX (Solaris) systems could efficiently upload (push) batches of data to an MS SQL Server database. From there it was immediately accessible to the client organisations via a web interface on a Windows server running IIS. The technique was to have the C program issue a HTTP request to an ASP page on a Windows web server, passing a UNIX file name as a parameter. The ASP page then instantiated a COM component and called one of its methods, again passing the filename parameter. This method then called an SQL Server (T-SQL) stored procedure which executed a BULK INSERT statement to load the named file into a particular table.

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Fulfilment systems

Various clients including Commonwealth Bank, Commonwealth Securities and Telstra, 1997 1998

The R&D team at SecurityMail developed a number of fulfilment systems for various clients. These systems included zero-defect article tracking, stock management and return mail handling.

Technical Environment

The databases for these systems were generally ORACLE on Sun Solaris. Processing modules were generally written in C or PERL. Data entry forms were constructed in Delphi or Visual Basic. Reporting functions were either UNIX C programs or MS Access front-ends to the ORACLE databases.

Responsibilities

As R&D Manager, Mike conducted requirements analysis and supervised the design and development of these systems.

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NMS - NightClub Membership System

The Edge Nite Club, The Broadbeach Tavern, 1997

The NMS formed the core of a patron loyalty system. As members entered the nightclub, they swiped their membership card through a reader. The NMS alerted the door attendant to any special notices regarding that member, recorded a visit for the member and greeted the member with a suitably “funky” random message. During nightclub operations, the NMS was used to draw prizes by selecting randomly from the members whose entry had been recorded that evening.

The NMS also recorded each member’s name, address and membership details, along with various demographic data such as “Favourite Drink”, “Favourite Music Style”, etc. This was used for membership renewal, birthday and other promotional mailing campaigns.

Technical Environment

The system consisted of a number of different MS Access interfaces to a common back-end database. The nightclub interfaces employed suitably “edgy” fonts and graphics while the back-office reporting and mailing interfaces were very much more business-like.

Responsibilities

Mike performed the requirements analysis, designed, developed and installed the system and trained the users.

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TOD - Telstra On-Demand

Telstra, 1996

Telstra required on-demand printing and distribution of controlled technical documents, policies, procedures and manuals. The finished system allowed Telstra to predict the cost of planned upgrades to manuals Australia-wide.

Technical Environment

The Telstra user’s interface was a Microsoft Access front-end which was installed in Telstra's offices in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. This front-end connected to an Oracle database on Telstra's servers in Brisbane from where SecurityMail down-loaded orders for printing and dispatch.

Separate Access databases at SecurityMail processed the orders and provided feedback to Telstra via e-mail as each order was completed.

Responsibilities

Mike undertook the requirements analysis, designed and developed the Telstra Access front-end and SecurityMail’s processing back-end database.

As R&D Manager, Mike also oversaw the development of the Unix-based processing and printing modules.

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Statement Printing and Imaging

Bank of Queensland, 1996

SecurityMail developed a Statement Printing application for the Bank of Queensland, including production of PDFs of all statements in a format suitable for loading into the bank's document retrieval system.

Responsibilities

As R&D Manager for SecurityMail, Mike interfaced with the client and oversaw the development of this system, providing technical direction to the development team of 3 software engineers.

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Box Culvert Designer

CSR Humes, 1994-1995

CSR Humes, manufacturers of concrete pipes and other ready-made concrete products, required a tool which would allow their engineers to quickly evaluate designs to meet tender specifications. Engineers had to evaluate various combinations of concrete thickness, steel size and spacing in order to survive certain load cases specified by their clients.

Stringent calculation accuracy was required.

Technical Environment

The finished system was a Visual Basic 3.0 application with an innovative graphical interface which allowed engineers to quickly specify a range of designs and record the required load cases. The application then performed the structural analysis calculations for each load case on each design. Designs and load test cases were stored in Microsoft Access databases. The application was packaged for remote deployment in offices across Australia.

Responsibilities

Mike designed and developed this system as a solo developer.

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ICCCC – Ipswich City Council Correspondence Compiler

Ipswich City Council, 1994

Ipswich City Council required their Wang word processing system running on proprietary hardware to be moved to Microsoft Word on PCs. The council had thousands of templates containing complex business logic to be converted.

Responsibilities

Mike first developed a number of MS Word (version 2) macros to reproduce the functionality of the existing Wang templates and improve their usability. He then developed software to convert batches of Wang templates to Word templates, incorporating the new macros.

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3D Studio Animation

Various clients including QTQ-9 and Reel Image, 1994

Various clients of Delta Technology used AutoDesk 3D Studio for construction of animation sequences and frame-by-frame output to video. These were for TV advertisements, short films and corporate videos.

Responsibilities

Mike provided installation, support and macro programming on various projects in conjunction with these clients.

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TouchScreen Information Kiosks

Various clients including Comalco, AVJennings Ltd, 1994

Mike developed a number of Visual Basic 3.0 applications, which not only integrated touch screens, animation, audio and video but also recorded activity in Microsoft Access databases for later reporting and analysis purposes.

Responsibilities

Mike designed and developed these systems as a solo developer.

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Home Loan Finance Calculator

AVJennings Limited, 1993

AV Jennings required a portable PC system that allowed a sales consultant to sit down with a client and interactively determine the client's best housing loan finance options. The system was written in Excel and included an easy to use Windows interface, an extensive Windows Help system, and a loan simulator which utilised Excel’s charting capability.

Responsibilities

Mike designed and developed this system as a solo developer.

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CLC500 Software Development Toolkit

Canon Australia, 1992-1993

Canon Australia required software to prove its new technology of a computer interface to a colour laser copier. Subsequent development included a Windows program to scan images from the copier surface and software to submit print requests from UNIX, Windows and Mac systems. This was before cross-platform interoperability was common. A special network protocol based on TCP/UDP (User Datagram Protocol) was implemented. This also incorporated an innovative “burst” mode in which larger and larger packets were transmitted until errors occurred, taking maximum advantage of available network bandwidth.

Responsibilities

Mike led a team of seven developers for this project.

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Presentation Graphics of 3-D stress contours

CSIRO, 1991

This system involved the conversion of a large number of HPGL plot files representing 3-D views of stress contours in underground one bodies caused by mining operations. Output was to 35mm slides.

Responsibilities

Mike designed and developed this system as a solo developer.

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Roof Tile Quoting System

Palmer Tube Mills, 1989-1990

This was an innovative CAD system, which allowed a roofing contractor to digitise a roof plan, view it in true perspective to confirm its accuracy, calculate all labour and material costs and then print out a quotation for the roof. The system required experience with communications for driving the digitiser, assembly language programming for driving the screen, and 3D geometry for displaying perspective views.

Responsibilities

Mike was the sole designer and developer of this system.

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Expo 88 Animation

Australia Post, 1988

This was a PC based 2-D animation system for Australia Post's Expo 88 Pavilion. The system asked the Expo visitor for a postcode and then displayed an animated sequence showing how and when a letter, if posted immediately at Expo 88, would get to its destination. FORTRAN programs were written to look up databases of delivery routes, pick-up times, sorting times, truck timetables, aircraft schedules and delivery times. This information was used to create and display a unique animation sequence for each postcode depending on the current time and day of week.

Software performance was a key issue since we were using some of the earliest 386 PCs. Key look-up data was held in RAM so that each unique animation sequence could be assembled and displayed within a couple of seconds.

After Expo88, part of the system went into service in the Brisbane GPO to provide a public-access postcode lookup system. It remained in service until late 1999. (One suspects there was no tool to certify it as Y2K compliant.)

Responsibilities

Mike was the sole designer and developer of this system and was involved from concept proposal to post-implementation review.

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SoftPen

Software Generation, 1983-1985

SoftPen was one of the world’s first PC-based 2D drafting systems. It conformed to the Australian Drafting Standard AS-1100. It provided advanced features such as automatic dimensioning and symbol libraries. For a few years it was widely used in Queensland schools as part of the Manual Arts course.

The majority of the package was written in FORTRAN-77 with some assembler where necessary to drive the keyboard, graphics screen and output graphics devices such as plotters. This package was initially developed during 1983 on a NEC APC but was converted to the IBM PC when this was released in 1984. A later version was developed for the Texas Instruments TI-Pro.

Responsibilities

Mike designed SoftPen and developed it with a team of three other developers.

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Patient Records System

Shailer Park Medical Centre, 1986

Mike designed and wrote a patient record system for a group medical practice with multiple locations. Unlike other medical practice management systems (which at that time were essentially modified accounting packages), this system specifically addressed the problem of maintaining patient clinical notes at multiple locations. The system went into service at Shailer Park Medical Centre in January 1986. It was written in dBase-III and compiled with the Clipper compiler.

Responsibilities

Mike designed and developed this system as a solo developer.

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RSL Membership and Bar Stock Control Systems

Software Generation, 1987

These two systems were written specifically for RSL clubs (in dBase-III and compiled with Clipper.) Software Generation was able to provide a total solution to a number of RSL Clubs by combining these packages with payroll and financial management software from other sources.

Responsibilities

As a Director of Software Generation, Mike participated in the development of these systems as a member of various two-man programming teams.

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Various Technical Engineering Applications

Queensland Electricity Commission, 1984 to 1987

As Senior Systems Analyst, Mike’s duties included:

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Inter-Stellar Patrol

RWB Productions, 1984

A Brisbane-based film and television production company required a number of computer games with a "Space" theme to be written for use during a new children's television quiz show. The games had to be packaged together to suit the various segments of the show and give the producer:

The program was also responsible for driving the studio scoreboard in real time. This involved designing the software interface in conjunction with the manufacturer of the scoreboard electronics.

Responsibilities

Mike developed the system in assembler on a Commodore 64 in cooperation with one other software engineer.

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Various Engineering Design Applications

Queensland Electricity Generating Board, 1978 to 1984

As Analyst/Programmer, Mike’s duties included:

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Statistical Data Processing and Analysis

Australian Bureau of Statistics, 1976-1978

Responsibilities

As a programmer in a moderate-sized IT department, Mike developed applications in FORTRAN and COBOL for regular processing and ad-hoc queries on Traffic Accident Statistics and Tourist Accommodation Statistics.

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Mine Modelling, Stockpile Modelling and Grade Control

COMALCO, Weipa Nth Qld, 1975

In the days before spreadsheets, Mike developed an application to track the cumulative grade of alumina and silica in an ore carrier as a shipment was loaded over a 36-hour period. This was programmed in BASIC on a HP9830 desk-top.

Other duties included evaluation of various flocculants and screening methods for fine ore, and chemical analysis of bauxite samples and some FORTRAN programming on an IBM Mini.

Responsibilities

Mike was a solo developer on these projects.

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Water Flow Simulation

Mt Isa Mines, Mt Isa, 1973-1974

In Mt Isa, water was a scarce resource. Further, the piping network for the supply of fresh water and the recirculation of process water within the mineral processing concentrators and smelters had grown over time and was quite complex. MIM required a tool which would allow them to determine the impact of proposed process changes on the pressure and flow of water at all other points in the network.

Responsibilities

As a member of a team, Mike participated in a survey of the existing network. He then contributed significantly to the design and development of a FORTRAN model of the existing water flow network. This model could then be changed to evaluate the effect of proposed process changes.

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“Computer Ball”

A student club at the University of Queensland, 1972

This was a FORTRAN program to process questionnaires and match blind dates for a student “Computer Ball”. The program was used for several years for balls which raised between $3,000 to $5,000 annually for charities.

A separate pre-processing program statistically analysed all responses to determine what weight should be applied to each question in the subsequent matching run.

Responsibilities

While still a student, Mike designed and developed this system as a solo developer.

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