This will be interesting. I'm on the move to the Bay of Plenty and a new job there programming in Borland's Delphi. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week I was there to spend time with the outgoing programmer.
This seems like a dream job. I live at one of the best beaches in New Zealand, my house is less than 5 minutes to work, and I have a really nice office overlooking a park (all to myself with a couch and an air conditioner and opening windows).
The code looks interesting. The previous programmer has spent a lot of time on that code and I can see how it has grown from simple quick-fixes to full fledged programs being used in the marketplace. A very difficult, but perhaps good time for a new programmer to take over.
The applications are written in Delphi 7 and Delphi 2006. The outgoing programmer has spoken to them about Delphi 2007 so I hope to get that when it becomes available here.
The very first thing that I will be doing on Monday is to get my favorite source code formatter installed "DelForExp" (http://www.dow.wau.nl/aew/DelForExp.html). This allows me to format the code in a way that I can see what goes on.
While I'm certainly not criticising the previous programmer's layout, its MUCH better when I can readily see the code. To do this, I'll use DelForExp and format it to have 4 character indents instead of 2 - at least until I am familiar with the code.
I'll also be installing GExperts (http://www.gexperts.org/). GExperts is not a necessity (not like DelForExp), but it is a good tool that can certainly come in handy.
I'll also argue for a version control system. Here I'll go against the grain for some folks and recommend Microsoft's own Visual SourceSafe. I know, I know, no real branching etc. but it does what is required with the minimum of fuss (I have no link for this, you'll have to scan the Microsoft site to find it).
As the programmer was continually being interrupted with requests for changes and bug fixes and future ideas, I have already set one or two people there to have a look at JIRA (http://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/). I have used Jira in a large multi-programmer environment for the past year and I am very impressed. This issue tracking system will be able to take the pain out of remembering and processing bugs, new features, releases, discussions, process help desk issues, prioritise work, and process all the work flows that go behind all that. Try it, I found it one of the best.
Well that's about all for now. The truck comes to take my stuff out of my Auckland apartment in the morning and delivers it the next day to my new home in Mount Maunganui so I have lots of other things to do.