My Purgatory

Service Tag Tool


This is my first attempt at server side programming. I was working a job replacing motherboards in a bunch of Dell laptops. There were four other techs on the job and we were having problems with tracking. The biggest of which was that occasionally, somebody would accidentally grab a laptop that had already been finished and replace the board a second time. This, of course, meant we were short a board. We couldn't have that, so I decided to try to come up with a way to stop this from happening. We were already stacking finished laptops in different places, but in many cases, there were so many laptops that space was an issue. The "finished" stacks were too close to the "incomplete" stacks, somebody would make a mistake, and grab the wrong laptop. The other big problem was that there were a number of laptops the client gave us that weren't on our list to repair, which meant we needed to set it aside because we didn't have a board for it. The list was, in some cases 400 computers long with 7 character alpha-numeric service tags as identifiers, some of which were different by only one character. We needed to have some sort of way to first see if a tag was on the list and then, whether or not a tag had been completed or not.

An SQL database was the obvious answer. It's more than sufficient to hold the information and queries make end of day reports a lot easier. The only problem would be an interface so that everybody could easily access it. I wasn't trying to give everybody a user account on my machine and telnet access, let alone teach them all enough SQL to make queries and update the database.

Again, there was an easy enough answer. I had taught myself basic HTML a couple weeks previous which meant I could make forms. The only problem was using that data. I know a bit of Java, but not how to interface apps with a server. PHP, Perl, or Python were obvious answers. I decided on PHP and started studying it over the weekend. By Sunday, I had started coding a solution. It's quick and dirty, but it works.

Before you start using the tag tool, open up myphpadmin in a new window. Use the username "serviceTags" and the password "password". in the pane on the left, click on the "serviceTags" database. In the main pane, you should see one table listed, also named "serviceTags". Click "Browse". This will give you a list of "valid" tags in the database. Once you have that, open up the Service Tag Tool.



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