Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The cost of doing things the right way…

Sometimes, it just pays to do a little cost/benefit analysis on the things your trying to do. I was reminded of this today in a rather stark way.
I did some data entry in a web application that I was running on a Windows server. It took me about 4 hours to enter all of this data. I am in the process of trying to get rid of this server instance, however. So in an attempt to save work, I moved the web application and database over to my new Linux server. Here is what happened:

  1. It took approximately 2 hours to export all of the data from SQL Server and import it into my MySQL database.
  2. Another hour was spent configuring Apache for the web application and configuring the web application to talk to MySQL.
  3. I’ve now spent over 9 hours on porting all of the SQL statements and trying to fix all of the compatibility issues. There are a number of assumptions that were made (like what the path seperator character is) that were based on it being on a Windows server. I still have several required areas of the application that have not been ported yet.
That is a total of 12 hours invested in porting this application to Linux, and it isn’t even close to being done. A day and a half (actually, since I only actually work on this for two hours a day, it is more like a week) down the drain. Now compare this to:
  1. Research and download a new web application written specifically for Linux (Apache/MySQL). About an hour.
  2. Install said application. Another hour.
  3. Reinput all of my data from a print out made from the original application. Another four hours.
I spent 12 hours trying to avoid a problem that would have only taken me six to do correctly in the first place. Not a very productive use of my time. Sad