Kasperian Moving Parts

kinda like Batman, but with a wife and 3 kids

and in this corner…


Work, work, work…. I am currently employed by the Rite Aid Corporation (yes, the drug-store chain) as a Systems Engineer, as you can see by my resume. I don’t really feel like just duplicating the information on my resume here, so I’ll let you look at my resume and you can see all the glorious details…. =:) Oh yeah, did I mention… you can find my resume here. =:) Briefly then….

I am a versatile and experienced systems developer with a wide range of technology skills. I have strong expertise in configuring and developing internet-based systems. I have an excellent work ethic and good user interaction skills due to my background in retail management. I have experience in the full software development life cycle. I was well respected by Rite Aid management and provided an opportunity to transition from a retail store-management into a position with in the Information Services department in the corporate offices.

I was hired by Rite Aid as an Entry Level Systems Engineer, and was given three months of training in COBOL. COBOL. =:) Immediately after graduating this training class at the head of my group, I was placed into a team that was given the task of creating a distributed online pharmacy system that spanned several platforms (IBM’s S/390 Mainframes, Digital Alpha, x86 SCO boxen), several different Operating Systems (IBM’s OS/390 CICS, SCO Unix, Windows NT 4 Server and Client), utilizing many different languages (COBOL, Visual Basic 5/6, ksh, Perl, SQL for DB2, PL/SQL for Oracle, C with embedded PL/SQL for Oracle 8, C sockets programs), and using several communications protocols (TCP/IP–completely custom-written client/server sockets programs, UDP–for software-distribution via Rite Aid’s satellite systems to their stores, and APPC–for communications between SCO Unix and OS/390 CICS applications via satellite connection). Needless to say, I was NOT trained to do this type of work. =:) But I learned each new technology and language extremely quickly, so that it in a matter of months, I was one of the key team members on our project. Again, you can read my resume for the complete details. =:) As a result of our group’s contributions, we partnered with drugstore.com, and our distributed-pharmacy application has provided a solid foundation for their pharmacy business.

Since then, my job has taken me into the somewhat-more-current technologies such as distributed intranet/internet applications, utilizing a variety of solutions, including high-performance Linux/FreeBSD servers that I have set up and administer, running Oracle 8.0.5 and 8.1.6, php4, Apache, IBM’s DB2 UDB for Linux, CVS, SSL, mySql, and other neat goodies. Some of the more interesting work I’ve done in these areas include a “brite ideas” public/private suggestion submission application that includes extended search capabilities and is completely configurable–allowing the same application to be used internally as an employee-to-employer feedback utility, and externally, as a publicly accessible, searchable question-and-answer application. This we wrote using php4 and Oracle 8.0.5. In fact, as a result of this project, I’ve made available one of our php4 Oracle8 classes here that provides some much-needed functionality to php4 with regards to Oracle8 that php’s native methods simply do not offer.

I’ve also employed IBM’s Universal DB2 Database V6.1, combined with Apache, php4, and unixODBC inside Rite Aid’s LAN to allow the RAPID development of intranet web applications that are able to access Rite Aid’s legacy OS/390 DB2 databases–providing a level of flexibility and availability that simply does NOT exist using a PowerBuilder-type solution.

Most recently, I’ve had the opportunity to implement a fault-tolerant clustered web solution for Rite Aid, using low-end desktop PC’s and two rather old Compaq server-class directors, thereby replacing the overworked single Windows NT server machine (*shudder*) providing web services for our corporation with a VERY robust web platform and environment. NT4/IIS was replaced with Linux/Apache/PHP4/Perl–with an implementation cost of close to nothing. By using very well-proven Open Source solutions and less-than-top-of-the-line hardware, we were able to completely re-fit our corporation with a solid web solution–on both the infrastructure and development fronts.

I am currently the team leader/lead developer for Rite Aid’s internet/intranet presence, and I can tell you that I am greatly enjoying the fruits of my labor in moving our company from NT/IIS to Linux/Apache. Our current content-management scheme employs CVS (Concurrent Versions System) for source control and content syncing. We use PHP-4 as our content-generation back-end and scripting language of choice, PERL for many of our development tasks (I use it daily for MANY things–web-related or not) as well as some dynamic content creation, Apache as our web server of choice, and Oracle 8i databases–coming from HP-UX servers–as our main database engine. In the future, I’m looking at FreeBSD as becoming our main development platform (MAN, it’s fast and stable), and I’ll be looking at the Zend family of products for optimizing our web services (caching, etc.).

* n o t e *

Any and all feedback or questions regarding my experience and abilities are more than certainly welcome. =:)

Author: Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper

My name is Jason 'vanRijn' Kasper. I am the ring leader of the amazing Kasper family. I am unashamedly a Christian Nerd. These are our stories....

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