In the beginning….

  • 7. January 2019

Normally you would expect a review at the beginning of a year – or even a preview on what is to come. Do we always have to follow trends?  Why not go back even further?  And so here is a little story from our Support Team with food for thought.

“I have to admit it took me some time to find a subject for my first blog article. “Should I start with a pure technical material or rather tell a soft(ware) story?” was the big dilemma. I couldn’t make my mind therefore I postponed the decision, until one day when I remembered one of the first challenging issues from my early days with TRIAS.

As part of my activity I have to assist our customers licensing our products after the purchase and getting started with their projects. Usually this works flawlessly but there are also exceptions. When working with software across different environments from different companies there is a large dose of unpredictability. Different security protocols, customer working habits, operating system particularities are just some sources of issues that should be verified when things do not work as expected. But what if the environment is ok, security protocols should enable the application and despite of all these it does not start??

Then we have a problem. The customer patience is decreasing, starting with the first attempt to activate the new software product. The longer it takes for the license activation the higher is the probability he would lose his patience. And when the product is properly installed, the license reports suggest the licensing environment is correctly set up and the customer environment is listed among the officially supported platforms, you start to seriously wonder what is wrong.

It is a good practice when you get too involved into a matter, and a solution cannot be found to take a short break. Take a couple of steps back to see the bigger picture and reconsider the debug strategy. Sounds good in theory and surprisingly, sometimes it really works even in practice. Therefore after a short break I decided, together with the customer, to work together in a remote desktop session and install the software product again. We ran again into the same issue but this time I noticed a strange pop-up notification regarding a printer driver. The tool required a printer to be installed on the host PC – which the customer did not have.  Having installed a printer driver the tool started normally and everybody was happy.

I have learned from this experience to leave room for the unexpected – and to have a plan B, C and D in case something goes wrong. Most of the time the root cause of unpredictable behavior is easy to find, but from time to time challenging situations to occur. EDA tools, like any piece of software, have dependencies within the host environment and controlling them requires a lot of research and practice. One can learn the fundamentals of different operating systems or distributions, but besides that the customer environment is always a mystery in respect of applications installed.

It has been more than six years since then and I have never experienced a similar issue again.  My general guidance for 2019 is therefore – when things go wrong is just keep your mind clear and be patient.  Remain to look for a solution. It is always there, you just have to find it…”