Mikhail Khoury

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The Murzan software project began as a side project1 to organize and generate user manuals for Murzan sanitary pumps. It quickly grew to include an inventory management app, a sales quote generator and a central company database.

The user manual & sales quote software is shown below. Unique product manuals are generated for any configuration of sanitary diaphragm pumps. There exist over 4000 unique configurations. Each generated product manual contains information specific to the unique pump configuration, including part numbers for spare parts, technical drawings of configuration-specific sub-assemblies as well as troubleshooting for the specific pump model. This process once took several hours of manually editing text files and creating technical drawings: now it takes only 60 seconds via a simple web interface.

Basic screenshots of the inventory app are shown below. This allows the user to cycle through all items in the warehouse, for periodic inventory purposes. QR code scanning is also built into the app, allowing for quick part lookup and updating.


1 Let me take you back to my first week at Murzan. Enter newly employed Mikhail, immediately given a seemingly simple task: update the product manuals of the sanitary pumps. After asking around, I quickly realized this had been on the company โ€˜to-doโ€™ list for quite a while, just no one really wanted to do it. I get it, throw the boring project at the new guy – the arduous process of updating technical drawings and revising outdated instructions and diagrams. Eager to get started, I began by studying the Murzan pumps to gain a better understanding of the various configurations and sizes of pumps. I was quickly overwhelmed. There were 11 different parts of the pump that could be configured in 2 or more ways; in other words, there were tens of thousands of possible pump configurations. How the heck could I make product manuals for all of those configurations?! There began my professional relationship with programming.

The weeks to follow became a self driven intensive crash course in web programming (mostly using PHP) as I developed a web interface to configure a Murzan pump (based on the aforementioned 11 variables) and ultimately generate a unique product manual for that specific configuration. My code would fetch revised technical drawings and documentation from a pool of files, as well as text snippets from a text database, in order to compile a unique product manual for the end user. What was once a chaotic process of editing outdated word documents and technical drawings, often taking several hours, now became a 60 second process via a simple web interface. Over the months to follow, this product manual software quickly grew to include the ability to generate sales quotes, assign serial numbers and manage warehouse inventory. What began as a few lines of code grew to become hundreds of files with thousands of lines of code.

This software project was an incredible experience for me. Primarily, because I built something. And not in the ways I had always known, with saws and lathes and wood and metal, but instead with a keyboard. This software project represented for me a fundamental discovery process: I ventured into completely unknown territory. Though at first I mostly fumbled around in the dark, eventually I found my bearings; soon I felt like the captain of a (small) ship.