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Writing a program buffer

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I am a helpdesk technician. there is a web-based help-desk system written in java that I use at work. It is very very very slow and requires you to click apply after making the slightest change. I always lose what I have typed into it.  

I would like to make a front-end interface for it. Wounder if in VB, there is a way to call java variables from a web page window copy the content to a VB program variable and upon clicking update in said VB program make changes to the web application.   

haven't done serious programming before.  

Know Introduction to VB, turing, C++

Please Advise. 

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Given that the base system is slow (and, honestly, aren't they all?) adding an extra layer will invariably slow things down even more. And I can tell you from personal experience that it's not Java (or javascript, or C, or VB) that's making the system slow. The slowness comes from poor implementation and far too low-end hardware being employed.

The only way to interact with a web-based system is via the web. What your program would be doing is taking on the role of the browser. The problem is that either your program can quickly adapt to the various requests and responses being send back and forth, or with the next update to this system your program will stop working. Worse still, it will be viewed as your program being crap, rather than the backend webserver being at fault.

So long story short, I think it's best to not go this route. You could ask some techs who run the service why specific aspects are slow. Might be that they know of certain things they could do but aren't allowed to (say, not enough memory for the DB and management is to cheap to pay for more) which would mean you can now tell your superior that the current situation would improve by X% meaning you spend Y amount of time less waiting for a system to respond. Take Y time in hours times your hourly rate times the amount of people using the help desk system times total work hours in a month. With the upgrade costing Z, the investment pays for itself in Z/Y months and saves the company money after that. If you can make this case, you might get your way.

Remember, business cares about money and risk. Your program costs money (your time) and adds risk (you die, program is now an orphan). Your cost/benefit thing for an upgrade has an up-front cost but a long-term saving and zero additional risk.

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Two questions that I would start with:

Does it have a documented API available that you can use?

If it doesn't have a documented API then walk away, or you'll spend more time on maintaining any thing you get working with the system than you would save.


What do you commonly do that you think could be automated?

If you're continually making identical actions against the system then perhaps automating those actions will save you some time.  Do you have system report that you then have to open new cases for, or do you regularly have to go in and change the state of cases that haven't been updated for a set period?

Edited by Jason Cooper
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