Randy Nichols

Randy Nichols

Chapman, United States
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Randy Nichols

Randy Nichols

Chapman, United States
Member since December 30, 2014
Randy has over 18 years of experience providing elegant solutions on tight deadlines using Python and other open source resources. He feels developers have a personal responsibility to be genuinely concerned for both the initiators of a project and those that will apply the solution long term. With good communication and focused effort, everyone wins.
Randy is now available for hire
  • Python, 14 years
  • JavaScript, 7 years
  • MySQL, 5 years
  • jQuery, 2 years
  • Backbone.js, 1 year
  • MongoDB, 1 year
  • Bootstrap 3, 1 year
  • Node.js, 1 year
Chapman, United States
Preferred Environment
Linux, Eclipse, PyDev, Git, Mercurial
The most amazing...
...feeling is when you provide someone the ideal solution to a vexing and frustrating problem.
  • Senior Programmer/Analyst
    Alco Stores, Inc.
    2012 - 2015
    • Designed our order dispatch system allowing stores to ship any store-based inventory items purchased from our eCommerce site. The system dispatched orders based on real-time inventory metrics, previous order load, and distance from the customer. If a store had to reject an order for any reason, it was logged and automatically delegated to the next logical location.
    • Created an internal web site with Pyramid that allowed buyers to manage the Magento/OMX system by keeping pricing and promotions in sync with spreadsheets (Buyers preferred using spreadsheets as a means of communication).
    • Added validation of uploaded spreadsheets to allow buyers to verify the integrity of spreadsheets against Magento before attempting to upload edits or new items. This eliminated previously required back and forth with spreadsheets while developers verified integrity. It also allowed finer-grained checks as other issues were discovered.
    • Provided the store support center with reporting to follow up on customer issues and any compliance questions.
    • Tested ruthlessly and wrote concise documentation into the site to provide stores and our help desk guidance in the event of exceptions.
    Technologies: Magento, CherryPy, Pyramid, Python, Oracle, MS SQL, JSON, XML
  • Senior Programmer/Analyst
    Alco Stores, Inc.
    2010 - 2015
    • Created customer loyalty integration for Alco with minimal impact to existing systems. Successfully processed over $1.4B in sales transactions and provided marketing with detailed reporting to allow targeted advertisements.
    • Wrote extensive testing and documentation around the customer loyalty project. I'm pleased to note that it ran without any issue for the lifetime of deployment.
    • Created a portal site to allow marketing to manage the creation and distribution of our email list through a PowerMTA system. We used this system to send 3M+ emails per week for several years.
    • Managed the Apache site that provided the resource assets (images and PDFs) for the emails we sent.
    • Provided reporting based on email opens and clicks to allow marketing to respond to customer trends.
    Technologies: Python, Jython, MS SQL, Oracle, XML
  • Intranet Developer
    Alco Stores, Inc.
    2008 - 2012
    • Integrated dual authentication allowing both store-based Tomax LDAP associates and Active Directory-based store support center clients to use the same portal. Directed authentication to the most likely system for auth based on login filters.
    • Allowed authorization based on ldap auth source and MS SQL tables defining the hierarchy placement of the client.
    • Wrote a custom CMS system that allowed store support clients to continue working in a way that was familiar to them but allowed store based clients access to documents previously unavailable to them.
    • Wrote a task dispatch system that allowed departments to present tasks to stores and the store support center to view the tasks from a higher level determining compliance. It allowed multiple store groupings based on the authentication level of the user signed into the portal.
    • Increased load capacity by running Zope server behind Apache and deferring all static files to the Apache server. Enhanced security by using SSL and certificates.
    Technologies: Python, Zope, Tomcat, Jython, LDAP, MS SQL, Oracle, MooTools, Dojo, JavaScript
  • Java Developer
    Alco Stores, Inc.
    2006 - 2008
    • Wrote dashboards to supplement reporting.
    • Installed and managed our JBoss development environment.
    • Successfully managed issues between our bank, new authorizer, and Tomax when bringing the Tomax point-of-sale system online.
    • Created Jython utilities to communicate with Tomax APIs and presented with Tomcat.
    • Wrote a process to extract XML details from the Tomax system to allow more detailed reporting than the base Tomax system provided.
    Technologies: J2EE, JBoss, Oracle, Jython, Java, XML
  • Lead C Developer for Point-of-Sale System
    Alco Stores, Inc.
    2001 - 2006
    • Managed the code base for two platforms and network topologies, token ring, and ethernet.
    • Created a secure website to manage new requirements and updates to all registers and back-end systems using the legacy distribution available for the chain.
    • Learned that writing code that writes code (Python) is not only acceptable but a solid and repeatable way to do development.
    • Added the ability to accept EBT-based tenders, manufacturer coupons, store based coupons, and the tax algorithm edits necessary to maintain the integrity of the tender system. (We were in 18 states, each of which had unique tax requirements.).
    • Wrote the bridge to allow both platforms to communicate with a Linux server placed into stores to manage perpetual inventory. Enabled all communication from the new Linux server to our general office through the existing legacy communication platform in the point-of-sale system.
    • Wrote numerous utilities and created reporting to allow proactive management of systems instead of reacting to failures.
    Technologies: C, Make, Linux, Batch, Rexx, Metaware Compiler, OS/2 Warp Compiler, Python, Zope
  • Alco Portal (Development)

    The communication hub of Alco Stores, Inc. It allows stores and the general office to communicate in an unprecedented manner. Over the years, we've changed the architecture to keep up with increased load and a wider audience to keep response times acceptable.

    At first, it provided real-time dashboards to store associates allowing them to better manage activity. Now, it includes task delegation, an extensive content management system, and dashboards for virtually every department.

  • Customer Loyalty Program (Development)

    We managed over a million customers and over $1.4B in sales over the course of several years. The program required minimal edits to the existing point-of-sale system and was robust through its entire duration. Extensive testing and documentation provided the foundation for its success.

  • Email Distribution (Development)

    With a weekly send of over 3M emails, rising costs influenced marketing to take email distribution in-house. Since marketing was already creating PDFs to define emails, we kept that part of the workflow and authored a system to give marketing the means to slice the PDF themselves, define where the click would land and distribute to different distribution lists through a PowerMTA setup.

    At first, Marketing wanted IT to be engaged in all the email sends since that was their history with our consultants. By giving them great tools and training them to take more ownership of the process, we eliminated that dependency and empowered them to act with greater freedom. We sent millions of personally-tailored emails each week for years without any issue.

  • Store Inventory on eCommerce Site (Development)

    Alco elected to list our store inventory on an eCommerce site and enable stores to fulfill the orders by shipping directly to the customer.

    Store associates signed in with their familiar point-of-sale credentials and received a list of orders to fulfill. It dispatched the order to the optimal store based on real-time inventory monitoring, distance to the customer, and current order load.

    I learned to never underestimate the value of elegant simplicity. The interface presented the basics needed by the stores to fulfill the orders. This made training new fulfillment stores easier. Fewer moving parts required less to document and maintain.

  • Languages
    HTML, JavaScript, Python, Jython, Java, Batch, C, SQL, CSS
  • Frameworks
    Zope, CherryPy, Pyramid, Bootstrap 3, Express.js
  • Libraries/APIs
    Node.js, MooTools, jQuery, Underscore.js, Dojo Toolkit, Backbone.js
  • Storage
    ZODB, MySQL, MongoDB, MySQL daemon, PostgreSQL, SQL Server
  • Tools
    Emacs, Eclipse, Git, SVN
  • Paradigms
    Database Design, Design Patterns
  • Platforms
    Linux, Oracle, Windows
  • Misc
    User Experience (UX), User Interface (UI)
  • Associate's degree in General Studies
    Pratt Community College - Pratt, KS
    1987 - 1990
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