At my current workplace we are automating a lot of tasks that were done using Oracle Forms to perform under a web interface. Sounds good so far.

One of the forms invokes some tens of thousands of lines of SQL code on the backend touching a large number of tables and invoking a good number of stored procedures. In order to automate this someone on the web team has to understand all that code. Again, from a programmers point of view, doable – might take a while.

Ok, now how to explain the size, scale of the problem to someone who knows nothing about programming?

I threw out the idea of going to the library, reading a novel that was several hundred pages long and having to understand exactly what happens to every character portrayed in chronological order.

Thinking about that later I wonder if I was very far off:

  • A typical page of a novel has 50-60 lines which equates to several hundred pages.
  • A lineof SQL does not correspond well to a line in a novel, but given the power of the syntax it may have as much meaning
  • The chronological importance is important in both cases, more so for the SQL.

Maybe it’s not such a bad analogy to use.  Maybe even the PHB might get it:)