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Monday, January 29, 2007

Revised payroll layout forces changes to bridge application

In an earlier post I described some changes to a client's payroll journal. In this one I'll share how I worked those changes into the corresponding bridge application we use to automate the payroll entry.

You will recall that I made two significant changes:

  1. Added a new payroll item and
  2. Removed totals columns
I will discuss each of these in turn, along with some other things I've discovered while working on this application.

New Payroll Item

The client wanted to be able to track Training, so I added it to their payroll journals. In the bridge application, I added the payroll item in the respective classes to recognize it.

Totals Columns

The client tracks both weeks of their pay period individually, and the payroll journal was originally set up to provide totals for each week and for both weeks. The totals columns for Week 1 were set up immediately after Week 1's payroll items. The totals columns for Week 2 and for both weeks were set up after Week 2's payroll items.

When I removed the totals columns, I moved all of Week 2's payroll items. The bridge application contains a VBA class where I've mapped the payroll item columns on the spreadsheet to elements of a tab-delimited array. I revised the code to make sure the each element is mapped appropriately.

Pitfalls while working off a network

Early Friday afternoon the network where I develop the applications became frozen, and I had to shut down the application from the Task Manager. Knowing this corrupts the application file, when I came in this morning, I started over again, but this time off a local copy, in case something would happen to the network again. Since I'd made the changes one time already, it didn't take long to do.

Testing it like the user would

When I tested the application to make sure the changes worked, the output looked odd. I contacted the payroll specialist and found out that she runs the bridge application for one location at a time, and after testing the application that way, everything worked out fine.

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