Mole, R.I.P.

Back in, oooo, the mid 1990’s, I set up about writing a new system at work. Named “Mole” it was designed to be a knowledge-base system with extensive search capabilities. It was written on the company mainframe, using an online language called RPF (Roscoe Programming Facility). At the time, we hadn’t long had PCs, so the mainframe was still where most development occurred.

It was text only but I wrote intelligent search capabilities matching and, I think exceeding, those provided by the internet search engines at the time. I launched different versions, with names echoing those of Microsoft at the time. For example, Mole RX (which stood for “reduced indexing” – the number of index files was greatly reduced giving a greater search performance). The final version had a Beta search facility that really was (even if I do say so) exceptionally good.

Indeed, Mole was a big hit. The support teams loved it and I even one an internal IT award for “Innovation”, beating a lot of other high-profile entrants.

Sadly, the manager of the IT Help Desk (who was likely to be the biggest user) didn’t like it. The mainframe wasn’t the way forward – PC applications, particularly one built into their call logging systems was the way.

Now it’s 2010 and the same Help Desk still lack a half decent knowledge-base – nothing was ever delivered other than the most basic facilities.

A few months ago, I archived the Mole code away into a dataset. Sadly, unbeknown to myself, the dataset has been “housekept”. All that was left of Mole has gone. The manual I can no longer find. Not even the Mole logo.

I’m quite sad about it really – it was something I put a lot of time into and I was very proud of.


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