open source

Open source, version control, PHP, mySQL and server side programming.

You can read the blog that I kept during tt381,
if you want.

The course

Was about open source, well it was but it wasn’t. To me it seemed to fall into four parts.

Open source – The history, philosophy and licensing thereof

It could, and was, said that there was no place for this on the tts. And I’m, kind of, in agreement with the nay sayers. I failed to see the relevance of the open source movement to building a web application, tangential at best was my take. However, apart from the licensing stuff I did find it interesting. The old anarchist in me wondered if this was the way that the world should work, what would happen if we produced [medicinal] drugs using this model? The old Marxist in me spotted the difference right away: programmers own the means of production. Not so in the case of chemists and not, therefore, a viable model.

Concurrent versions

We had a week on this, well others had a week on this. I skipped it. I had a fair idea that it wasn’t going to be part of the ECA so I put it aside for later.

Concurrent versions are obviously important if you are going to do any kind of team programming and these courses needed to include it somewhere.


This was the bulk of the course: six out of ten study guides covered it and the coding was worth 40% of the marks.

As a self-confessed Javascript nut I didn’t have too many problems with PHP, but some people struggled. Arrays and loops seemed to be the problem so if you haven’t used these before then I’d get some practice in early. The ECA is not the place to learn.

A big shout must go to Keith E., the cafe mod for his ‘cafe coders’ exercise. Not only did this help newcomers but it also allowed the more experienced coders to strut their stuff. One of the things I missed during tt281 was a high-level discussion of Javascript. So many people were having such a terrible time that I didn’t have the heart to bring up things like closures, classes or inheritance. Keith’s group allowed all levels of scripters a place to play. Thank you Keith!

Application design & development

This was formally introduced in week ten but was introduced in the teach conference about week three. If I have one gripe with this course it’s that this should have been introduced much earlier, but it is a minor gripe.

What did you do neil?

After a slow start I got into open source, the nuances of lisencing left me cold but the history and philosophy were interesting.

I liked the PHP, I had some coding fun in the cafe and I finished my ECA coding in an unspecified amount of time that didn’t seem too long.

I did struggle with the report. I think that I understood what was asked for, but it is just a think. Half the battle with these courses lies in understanding what you are being asked to do. I took forever, perhaps thirty hours, to do the report and I was more than usually disatisfied with it. Half was perhaps too specific, the other half too vague. Well see when the results come.

As I said above I left the versioning stuff for later – still not done. But I will get round to it eventually.

Very quiet

The course seemed very quiet, I say seemed because on reflection perhaps this was because most of the regulars weren’t posting as often.

There were very few doing the course; 129 completed the first CMA, but only 89 completed the third.

But perhaps the main reason that it felt quiet was that I wasn’t contributing enough myself. I really wanted to do a whole lot more, but life got in the way. Damn life.

Who is this for?

A diverse group. If you want to work in a team, it’s a start, but be aware that it’s only that; if you want to produce free software… This course is a start. Treat it as such.

A good course?

Yes, excellent. After tt282 and tt380 I was beginning to think that I was losing interest in the tts but this course has got me up and running again.

So yes it’s worth doing and yes you can learn PHP.