Movable Merge

March 18, 2003

I’m doing something that on the surface, seems realy simple. But just finding out how to do it made me very very tired and somewhat fried. At work, we’ve had this database-powered “Find A Doc” type of application, where people could search through a list and find a physician. For a couple of reasons, one being the lack of a good database, we pulled that service.

Today, one of our call center staff gave me a good export of our good database in Excel format. I spent a good part of the day, trying to pull that from Excel into Access and into something I can use monthly. I sat back, trying to pull connection strings between that database and a very bad bit of ASP. Finally, I figured out that this was really gonna blow. So I did something else with that data.

I went into Microsoft Word and did a data merge into a template that I made, hoping to pull that data into a good format. Once I decided it worked, I deleted the template and setup a good one. So instead of being vague, I’m pulling all of that data in Word and into a Movable Type import template. I can then save as a text file and transfer that to my import directory. I was able to setup everything, all 1100 entries and created a couple of little hacks in the process.

The one downside is that my database is slower. it’s generally slower on Windows servers, but I have a feeling it’s because I pulled in all of that data. I might transfer this database to a MySQL database and use the MTSearch capabilities instead of our ASP search engine. and that should speed things up. But it’s still cool….well at least to me.

If anyone has a question about it, ask away.