Previous Projects

Previous project details below.

  • CIS Tools (2005 Studio 7.1)
  • ISREx Console app, VB.Net, 2000)
  • SA4 (VB.Net WinForm)
  • TextProc
  • New Password generator (WinForm VB.Net 1998)
  • PUB (Clipper 1991)
  • Sums (WinForm VB.Net 1996)
  • SIMS Tools (C++ and C#)
  • ISREx (VB, C++, C#)
  • CIS Tools (ASP.Net)
  • OLW (WinForm VB.Net 2005)
  • Outlook Tools (WinForm VB 2005)
  • EmailProcessor (WinForm VB 2003)
  • ISA Log Processor (WinForm VB 2003)
  • SMTP Log Processor
  • CIS (Asp.Net VB, 2008)
  • MEA (Access, 2000)

I have also been involved in the following projects;

LIS website (2011, ASP.Net using Telerik components).  My CIS Tools application was to merge with this at some point.

WinCP – WinForm application to handle curriculum planning for a College.  Developed against .Net 1.1

MISS (2005)

I have developed and interfaced against the following systems

  • Agresso QL
  • Capita SIMS
  • ProAchieve/ProGeneral
  • FE Funding Applications
  • GTI (Windows timetabling application)
  • unitE
  • ALPS


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Current Projects

Current project details are listed below.

CISTools – An application originally in VB.Net to support IT elements of school/college management, e.g. checking disk space, managing server services, scanning email logs, etc.  Upgrading this to C# and porting elements into the main ICT Services app (details below).

FileArchive – Test application for the storage of files in a SQL Server table as image fields.

ICTServices – Main application I am working on providing facilities to a school, such as those provided by CISTools above and also staff/inventory management, network account creation/resets, bulletin pages, work tracking, etc.

ISREx – Originally in VB.Net, converting to C#. This application takes ISR files (used in FE funding at one stage) and extracts data from it for analysis.

PrinterMonitor – Conversion of a VB.Net application found on the web to monitor printers.  Looking at what is required for a conversion of what was once a Win32 application and that makes DLL calls.

SA4 – System to generate student accounts on a network every night.  Used in a College where there were a lot of part-time courses throughout the year.  Conversion to C# and away from ADSI to proper Active Directory methods in .Net

SIR – Conversion from ASP.Net in VB to a C# WinForm app.  SIR was a data collection survey for staff in FE.  Again as practice for the conversion and looking at different techniques used in C#.

TaskList – Testbed application for a work tracking system, to be incorporated into the ICT Services application.

TestBed – A generic testbed application for trying out all sorts of stuff.  Better than testing stuff in a live development and breaking everything.

TextProc – Conversion from a C# console app to C# WinForm.  Used for processing of log files and outputting lines that match certain text; primarily used to process backup logs to see what had been skipped.

Tracker – Conversion of a Microsoft Access app into a C# WinForm app.  List program is used to track progress of students in a school against KS3 and KS4 assignments.  Looking at the requirements of a conversion and it the application can be improved by linking into the Capita SIS database.

WOL – Attempt at producing a Wake-On-Lan application that can find it’s own MAC addresses and handle wildcards.  Useful to wake up a classroom full of computers just by entering the PC name prefix, e.g. wake up ITROOM* instead of ITROOM1-01, ITROOM1-02, etc.

SQLite Testbed – Used to test access against an SQLite database, as I am looking to pull information from SpiceWorks into my own helpdesk system.

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Why use WinForms, C# and SQL Server?

Why use WinForms, C# and SQL Server?


I’ve developed under .Net for a number of years now and I’ve often had the consideration of developing a windows or a web application.  I’ve developed apps and also PHP apps, and I’ve come across the same issues with both; control of the environment.

For me as a small developer, I need to get products out there.  To that end, I don’t have time to worry about responsive design, or how a display will react in various browsers.  I need to get stuff in front of people and data back to process.  For me that’s WinForms.  Additionally I can get full access to the client, rather than the limited access web hosted apps give me.  That’s useful as I support the IT Services role at the school, I sometimes need deep access to PC’s and servers, tied in to Windows Active Directory security.

Why not WPF then?  We’ll I found the new design structure odd, and noticed a recurrent issue that WPF applications perform poorly under remote application situations.  I may need to remote app applications to run on tablets, phones or Macs, which means I need the performance.  I’ve seen apps that take 15-20 seconds to refresh a screen, just because of the gradients they have used on a screen background.  Don’t have time for that.


I started programming in C a vast number of years ago, then went up to C++ and now to C#.  The progression seems more natural to me.  I’ve VB’d a while as well, but find the natural strongly typed language helps in my development.  Again, I’m a small application developer, so need the language to work with me.

SQL Server

Makes sense to me to use a strong database in the background.  The school student system is based on SQL Server 2012, so I hang my applications off that on a separate database.  I’ve used local databases, and MySQL in my PHP development work, but again SQL Server is such a good fit with C# and .Net that it’s a bit of a no brainer.

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Weekend Project Conversions

I’ve been doing some project conversions at the weekend, for eventual upload to this site as examples of my work.  Projects I’ve worked on are as follows;


A project to demonstrate the storing of images into an SQL Server database.  No particular issues with this, other than getting my head around the use of resource files as a method of storing global constants and other items like connection strings in a central location.  Need to do a bit more reading up on it, as I primarily considered it as a localisation resource and I only develop in the English language at the moment.  However the need to incorporate image files lead me to look at this.


A project to demonstrate processing text files.  This was originally a VB.Net console app from 11 years ago. A quick paste of the code into the IDE gave me 280+ errors which took about 20 minutes to get rid of.  Most items were case, missing braces and line terminator errors.  Additional work on adding GUI elements to the code that were originally just spit out as Console.WriteLine() elements.


A project to analyse and split ISR/ILR files used by Further Education funding in the UK.  Main issue here is the conversion of the main part of the code into a class.  Again no major issues other than keeping track of where I am with the conversion.  Considering the age of the code, even reworking my own stuff can be a challenge.


A project to collect staff data for a statistical return in Further Education in the UK.  Originally an ASP.Net application being ported to WinForms.  Again no major issue here, the conversion of the code mainly an exercise in search and replace. Another issue is getting a copy of the appropriate manuals for the file format, as even though they are from 2008/09, the manuals do not seem to be easily available on-line, probably because of the closure and re-organisation of many website as part of the government austerity drive.  Or maybe just bad searching technique on my part.

All in all a useful weekend of work.  I am looking forward to another conversion I’ll be getting to, which is the conversion of a Microsoft Access 2010 database to a WinForms application.  The data structure will be a large exercise in itself, once I’ve identified and looked at rationalising/normalising the data.

One area I will develop is the creation of my own database and coding standards, gleaned from my work here, which I will also upload at some point.  A useful resource in itself, but also a good way to show prospective employers my thought processes (and probably areas that need fixing).

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