the blog

This was the blog that I kept during tt382 – February 2008 to May 2008 give or take a couple of days.
I’m deeply ashamed of myself.

I’m going to be first

The course website opens on 2008-01-24, I’ll be trying to post first in all the conferences! See you soon gang…


Finally signed up and ready for the off. I’m resisting diving in to PHP for the moment so that I can enjoy learning it with everyone else. However I have got the HTML-kit plug-in for it the contains a vast array of commands. Looks like you might be able to use it to do your dishes.


Despite what I said below I’ve been doing a little PHP. Mostly because I’m trying to do a wee bit of AJAX stuff – so you can look forward to a long blethering article about that. However I think that I’m going to like PHP.

I’ve also been writing an article about who and what the Certificate of Web Applications Development is for. It started off about why I’d come to realise that the report deserved to be worth the bulk of the marks but an interesting thread in the survivors conference made me broaden my canvas. It’ll, probably, be ready by next week. You have been warned!

No comment

One thing I have decided is that this site needs a commenting system and now that I’m doing tt381 it would seem to be a good time to develop one. This will take some time, I imagine, but hopefully by mid-course you will be able to re-direct my visitors to your site and violently disagree with me.


Me and open source

Well the course has started, and I’m out of my comfort zone. It’s all about licences [which has been a major spelling problem] and philosophy. I’ve found it really difficult to raise, or even comment on what’s been posted in teach or seminar, But…

I’ve become a entranced by what Daz is doing over on Sparkl, and I’ve become a fully joined up member, doing mostly Javascript of course. But the first thing to do is to re-design this site using the framework. So no reading lots of open source history documents or getting my lawyers to draft my own special open source licence—for me it’s, again, HTML, CSS and JavaScript. What do the French call it?…

Oh yes, that’s right la via en rosė [didn’t get that char code right did I?].


The course

I haven’t been doing too much course related stuff. Partly because I’ve been doing other things like re-designing this site, building a regular expressions widget and writing a Javascript library for Sparkl. But the main problem is that I fall asleep every time I try to read the documents. I’m also getting the distinct feeling that we’re discussing “how many angels can dance on the top of a pin?” type stuff here: interesting but in the end immaterial.

Is it free? What can I do with it? May I sell it? Can I steal this alter a few logos and sell it? To me the bottom line is that if you don’t have the financial muscle to take on it doesn’t matter what licence I issue my code under – I’ve given it to the world to do as they want with it.

However it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that I’m completely wrong. To be fair I haven’t read all of documents, or even the seminar discussions; they seem beyond me at the moment.

But I’m on holiday this week and if I can avoid some of the jobs that my wife has planned for me I’ll try to grok the entire open source movement. After all I’m going to have to explain it to the potters amn’t I?

The cohort

This is the fifth course of six and I’m beginning to realise that we’re going to finish soon. Which means that, although I can keep in touch with the many friends that I’ve made, a huge part of my life is going to be over soon. And I feel sad about that. From what I can see other courses don’t have the same feel as the tts. So I’m determined to enjoy the time that remains. So I’m off to troll in the cafe.


Well casa anderson has been given a spring clean and last autumn’s leaves have finally been removed from the garden but little Open University work has been done. I’d like to pretend that this was because of the afore mentioned makeover, but that would be stretching the truth; in reality I’m not warming to the in-depth comparison of open source licences required. Still the CMA is sneaking up and I fear that I may have to bite the bullet and do some work.


Work proceeds on the Sparkl javascript stuff, I’ve ditched the forms module for the moment and I’m going to concentrate on a core group of functions. I have the nagging feeling that I’ve bitten off far more than I can fit into my mouth let alone chew. However I intend to keep at it – my reputation as a JavaScript groupie depends on success.

In the meantime Daz has got Sparkl version three up and spinning and, I think, that it’s really worth a look.


Tony N has asked me to do a review of his WebPage application, which I’m of course happy to do. And will do so after I’ve given it a thorough test [although my initial tinkering suggests that it is a fine piece of kit].

But the request itself got me thinking, can I get an iPhone out of this? Well maybe not quite that (although I’m not adverse if you’re reading Mr.Jobs) but I’m sure that a lot of wepappers have built something that they’d like, erm shall we say, peer reviewed. So if you’ve you got something that you want me to review get in touch. You are of course not going to get a whole load of publicity doing it here, but at least I can promise you my honest opinion.

Stuff can be anything from a full-blown web 2.0 community site to a single page that you’ve knocked up for your Dad’s Morris Dancing Club.

At the very least I can promise you a link out of it.

So new stuff?

Yes, this means another couple of sections need adding to the gibberings, as well as the new footer and a what do you “think of this”? comments form. And the shadow of ‘back to work tomorrow’ looms too.



Well first CMA is nearly due, so I’ve spent most of the weekend and tonight trying to catch up on three weeks of, frankly, skimped work. On the whole I found the CMA fair (although there are a couple of questions that I haven’t completed yet) and it has to be said that one was zero-rated before I even started. But no complaints from me.

That would be too many thats neil.

I’m starting to get into the course, the open source stuff doesn’t grip me but I’m going to keep at it, for I fear that it’s that that the report is going to be about.

Version control

As a palliative to all this open source research I read week four’s study guide: An introduction to version control. Alas I did it in bed so I am no wiser. Well not much wiser, as my eyes closed like a portcullis I did pick up a wee bit of the merest conception of what it might be about. Some of it was about working together, but it was mostly about keeping control of the source.

One of my main problems as a coder, or writer, [of any language] is that I’m scatterdash and messy. Version control would seem to be the answer. But from the command line? Am I that messy? In truth yes, but what havoc I could wreck?

Anyway version control is what I’m going to concentrate on over the next week, I’ve a gnawing feeling that it’s going to be important.

So what else?

Not a lot: trying not to have to go up a really long ladder at work, stubbing out the Sparkl javascript, oh and yes starting a thread about where tt281 (that would be javascipt) belonged in the tts. This one might be a runner, but we’ll see. My basic hope is that people who do tt281 in the future don’t surface from it with a basic hatred of javascript.

I’d like to finish up with some pithy French quotation, but the Orwell in me says that’s it.


I’ve been having the feeling that something was missing on this course, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Until…

The Study Guides

The world of the web is a fast moving one and the same goes for the courses. I’m not sure how much they change from presentation to presentation but they do change. Which means that the study guides are always being updated and are full of typos and downright errors. To me this is to be expected but it seems to fire others up.

That’s what was missing. The constant low-level background griping about whether SG4 Line 45 mean what it says?”.

The reason that this hadn’t happened up until now was that we were dealing mostly with texts, where a slight inaccuracy doesn’t matter very much. But it’s a different matter when you’re dealing with CVS from the command line. Couple, the inevitable, mistakes with the OU server being upgraded right at the start of the course and you scoop the pool when it comes to an unreliable study guide.

David D, an indefatigable hunter-out of error, the witchfinder general of the study guides, suggested that he should get some of his course fee back for all the mistakes that he’d found. He also made the claim, tongue-in-cheek I think, that our cohort was being used as error finding guinea pigs on these courses [I rather like the image of guinea pigs being shovelled into computers to track down bugs]. I think that David should get a reduction in his course fee, but not for this; he, along with Steve B, are always tirelessly helping fellow students with their installation/configuration problems. He should get some money off for that.

Anyway after some tooing and froing in the course forums Andres, one of the mods, asserted that there were no problems with tt382 and bet David D a beer that he wouldn’t find any. Which cheered David up considerably.

Personally speaking while I understand that it’s frustrating when the study guides are wrong, but to me it just isn’t something to get excited about. Poor documentation is a fact of life – we should get used to it. In fact a mischievous part of me would like to think that it was deliberate.

The black art of debugging is one that can only be learnt by doing it. I’ve probably wasted years of my life and I’ve certainly pulled out many a handful of hair tracking down what’s wrong with my code, I wouldn’t want any of it back. If you don’t like it – don’t be a programmer.


CMA back

And quickly too! This course is frighteningly well organised. I did the worst that I’ve ever done but most of us got over 70%. Which is probably to be expected, by this stage we all know the ropes.

The first CMA is always interesting because you find out how many people are doing the course: 126 of us this time around. I wonder how many of us a left from the October 2006 presentation of tt280? I guess about 10-15 but there may be more.


In an attempt to catch up course wise I downloaded subversion and tried to get started. I don’t like working from the command line or editing .conf files [I’m not that kind of geek], so I wasn’t looking forward to it. I was right to be worried; after about 2 hours work I’d managed to create a repository, but I couldn’t get any of my files into it. I really need to sit down for a few hours with some documentation and a case of red bull, but I won’t manage that until the weekend. So I’ve given up on it, bashing around in a panic won’t teach me anything.


Which leaves me to get on with some PHP work. I’ve not done too much actual work. At the moment I’m trying to get a grip of how the language works and how I’m going to use it. I could just treat it like a different form of ASP. But as it supports objects and classes perhaps I should adopt a different style of coding from the procedural way that I do ASP. I think that I’ll probably do it the old way for the ECA but I’ll try to be a bit more object-oriented in the future.


I canny tak’ it Captain

I sure we’ve all had the experience of procrastination, circumstances and thoughtlessly made promises coming together to create the ultimate task-overload nightmare. And yes it’s happened to me this week. I’ll sort it out but something has to give and I can’t decide what it’s going to be. I don’t want it to be the course though.

I like it

I must admit that I’m enjoying this course in a way that I haven’t enjoyed a tt since tt281 [and I was going to enjoy that one wasn’t I?]. Not only is it very well organized but it’s also interesting and challenging. In an ideal world I’d be doing a whole lot more than I’m doing at the moment.

So what am I not doing?


Not looked at and due on Wednesday.


This poor app has been cruelly neglected. I’ve got it installed on both my machines but apart from creating a repository I haven’t got round to doing anything else. This is a pity in two ways: I think that it will patch a problem I have – file/code sloppiness and it’s interesting in and of itself.

I could pretend that dislike of using the command line was putting me off, but that would be a lie. Whilst I don’t like using the command line I can use it when I need to and there must be a GUI out there somewhere. Must do better.


I should be playing around with this a whole lot more. I’m not terribly worried about the coding part of the ECA, I can’t imaging that the A & B scum will want anything much different from something that I’ve done a hundred times before in ASP. But having deliberately put off doing any PHP before the course started so that I could get the ‘proper’ experience of the course I should at least doing the assignments. Which leads me to…

Failure to contribute

I’m not posting enough.

Now a lot of people may think that I post way too often and I’ve posted a couple of things that were just plain rude [and which fill me with shame] but I feel that I should be contributing a lot more.

However the big beasts (and there are some very big beasts indeed on this course) aren’t posting very much either; an important thread in the seminar is being entirely sustained by the mods. Ok, David D is onto a bash.conf file like a mongoose on a cobra and Tony N is doing a deconstruction of the language implementation but a lot of the regulars aren’t saying much at all. I’m not entirely sure why this is. Perhaps they aren’t interested?

But it may be something else: one thing that I’ve noticed on these courses is that on many occasions my interest kicks in about 4 weeks after it should have. On this course weeks 1 and 2 just plain flummoxed me, but I’m now reading and thinking about the open source philosophy a lot. The subject is pretty fascinating. As usual my thoughts are chasing themselves around my head like hyperactive gibbons but I’ve got the same feeling that I had when tt280 introduced me to the whole standards/accessibility/usability thing – here’s something that’s going to be important.

Other stuff

That would be this site and Sparkl. For the site I need a comments form and there are a few articles bubbling up into the frontal lobes. The Sparkl javascript core is almost ready but it needs documented and I need to build a killer app to lure people in. Time, time time…

So what’s going to give?

Well in the short term this site, the course and my Sparkl work. Unfortunately I can’t really squirm my way out of the work/personal stuff. But I’m promising myself some serious web related fun soon.


I knew that I was mortal but…

I was lying in my bath this morning looked at the bruised and slashed mess that intensive furniture moving leaves your legs in when I had the funny feeling that I couldn’t be bothered any more.

I don’t move furniture for a living but I do enough of it that I know the perils, pitfalls and the strange joy of it. Rather like scripting.

Both are things that I do half-well, and they are things that I resist doing for my living.

This all seems a bit heavy

Indeed it does. But what I realized as I slumped in my bath was that I wasn’t up to it anymore; furniture moving that is. True, what I’ve been landed with is a beast of a job, perhaps the worst that I’ve ever been faced with, but…

I got out of my bath, checked my ‘messages’ – that would be firstclass stuff, and I could not be bothered to get involved. All I wanted to do was lie on the couch.

So what am I saying?

Perhaps not a whole lot. For all of the courses so far I knew quite a bit, or had learned/swotted a lot before I started. This time I deliberately didn’t do that, and for this course life got in the way. Is that enough excuse for not doing anything? Plenty of other people have been there.

I’m not sure who I’m letting down most, but I’m in there somewhere.


I’m better now

Well since my black Sunday [I can’t believe I wrote that tosh] things have picked up. And it’s been quite a busy week tt wise: the second CMA was due, the ECA was published and the results for tt380 arrived.

My CMA was a bit of a rush job, I actually guessed a couple of questions, something that I’ve never done before. But that’s what you get for leaving things to the last minute.

I’ve just skimmed the ECA so I’ll leave that for another time.

So that leaves…

A pleasant surprise

My tt380 result was way better than expected and for once my report actually carried my coding. So my strategy of doing the report before allowing myself to do any coding would seem to have been a resounding success.

But I’m not sure that that’s the full story. It was also the first report since tt280 where I felt that I understood what was required; I outlined the issues, made my recommendation and explained why this was the best way. For the tt281, tt282 reports I wasn’t sure what was being asked so I waffled around the edges and explained the details of my code.

To sum up: I’m certainly going to do the report before the coding on this course too but I’m also going to try to have something relevant to say. Never had any problems saying off-task stuff of course.

The plan

Well I’m sick of plans but I have a wonderful four days off and any time that I can sneak onto the computer I’m either going to be writing PHP or JavaScript for Sparkl. I’ve been having a bout of coding block recently but I can feel it lifting. So no messing about with anything else.

Keith E, one of the mods has been tirelessly, and somewhat futilely, trying to get us interested in coding stuff. And I who should have been contributing haven’t been – I should be true to myself, at bottom I’m a script-kiddie. Instead of feeling sorry for myself and whinging here I should be firing up WebPage and getting down to some serious coding. Time to get busy.



Well I’ve had a chance to look at this now, it’s more-or-less as expected – a report and some web pages. No extras like wireframes or table creation scripts this time. The report garners 60% of the marks, the pages 40%. A fairish split.


Despite all my hard work A & B haven’t managed to get themselves the most basic of shopping carts together. They really are to be more scolded than pitied. So we’re required to produce a report that will help three inexperienced internal stooge coders churn out the code and some pages to get them started off.

The pages

Not really looked at these in any great depth but nothing jumps out as being too strange. Alas we have to document our code, this is always awful; it is good practice but that doesn’t make it fun.

The report

The difficult bit. We have a lot of ground to cover in 2500 words, I’m not even sure at this moment how much ground. But I fear that I may be drawn into some ridiculousness like recommending a licence so that A & B can open source a shopping cart. Please no.

Making a start

So I spent the afternoon doing the basic preparation: getting the database set-up, making sure that the supplied pages were ok and doing the basic outline of the report. I plan to do the report before the coding again [worked last time after all] but I’m not sure that I’m going to be able to resist diving in. I am making a resolution to plan the entire application before I write a single line of code though. But me and resolutions…


April fools day

But I resisted and will continue to do so.

Getting close to the end

The last CMA is due on the 9th April – just over a week, and the ECA is due on the 25th – under four weeks. The CMA doesn’t worry me too much but the ECA is scarily close. Under four weeks can quickly become under a week all too easily.

I have been working but probably not hard enough. As planned I’ve been working on the report, but the words are coming hard and when the do come they come as vague waffle. I’ve a lot of bullet points that need to become paragraphs, or more, but I’m really struggling. I, almost, know what I want to say but I’m having trouble in structuring it – even, or perhaps especially, in the RAM of my head.

What isn’t helping is that I’ve not been in the mood for writing either words or code recently. Today for instance I opened up the report, typed three words and that’s it. So I thought that I’d get on with the CMA – I got up to question 14 [with quite a few unanswered] before I decided that I couldn’t be bothered with that either. So I opened the Sparkl JavaScript documentation [that I really need to finish for Daz’s latest release this weekend] yes you’ve guessed it another twenty or so words before I cravenly capitulated to ennui.

I’m flittering all over the place – I have twenty Firefox tabs open, six applications running (eight if you count Apache and mySQL) and about three hundred unread items in my feed reader. I’m piddling around.

The Zone

Is what I need to get into.

If you’ve ever done any programming you’ll know about this – that sacred place where things just flow and the person from Porlock is right around the corner. And you’ll also know what tricks you have to employ to get there. For me the main thing is not to force myself. Which of course works if you aren’t under some kind of time-crunch but can get a bit hairy if you are.

I may have to start the web pages to try and get things moving.

Rien à rien

I’m probably going to look back on this course as a missed opportunity. There are lots of interesting things going on and I’m not feeling involved enough. I’m nowhere near as uninvolved as I was on tt380 but I’m not doing as much as I want to. I’m not going to beat myself up about it but I definitely feel that in the end I’m going to rien.

Well now that I’ve got that off my chest I’m away to mark everything “read” in my feed reader, at least that way I’ll feel that something has been achieved!


I caved

In an effort to get myself going I ditched the report and started on the pages for the ECA. It took me about eight hours to get them working, but it’s the usual quick-and-dirty effort – elegant they are not. I suppose that I could submit them at a pinch but I’d like them to be a bit more… well special I suppose.

I’m liking PHP and for the first time since tt281 [that would be JavaScript] I’d like my code to be the best that I can do. This might not earn me any more marks, in fact the opposite might be the case; I got about the same marks for the Clodfusion pages that I knocked up in six hours as I got from the vast amount of unobtrusive that I produced for tt281.

But there’s another reason

We have to document our code – always a pain, but alas probably a good thing. Anyway I was a wee bit unsure as to the level of detail required so I posted to the ECA forum, Steve B. – who probably finished everything weeks ago – said that his was 3500 words. 3500 words! I pasted my code, which is pretty well commented [so I’ve learnt something], into a document – 1300 words. Probably 500 words of actual code, there’s no way I’m going to write 2200 words about that.

So the cunning plan is to modularize as much as possible; not only good in terms of elegance but also a word saver.

And the report?

Well it stands at about 1600 words and unless it falls on its backside it may continue to stand at that for some time.

Here we go again

Under four week has become just over two with an all too predictable rapidity. Panicked last minute submission anyone? Sign me up.


Errata or erratum?

Alas something of a cock-up with the ECA documentation – wrong pictures. Oh dear. Harsh words were said in the forums.

Bothered, me?

Not over much, but then I haven’t finished my coding or the explanation thereof so it wasn’t the disaster for me that it might have been for other people. I <em> the might because when how this was going to be dealt with was explained it was clear that those who had coded to the original picture would be marked as if this was what was required.

But by the time that was made clear I’d changed my code anyway.

Errata would be the plural.

The moral…

Well I took a couple of things from the stushie:

  1. We’re all potential web developers here; we all know that dealing with clients is going to be the toughest part of our job. Why are we complaining that the ECA is being changed at the last minute? Or in actuality 2 ½ weeks before the deadline. This is just something that we should expect and deal with, or is it not?
  2. The fact that a picture made such an impact. I went back to the documentation and it didn’t make sense when I looked at the picture – when I knew that the picture was wrong. Interesting. We saw the picture and assumed. Bad us.

We should face it – we’re going to be dealing with, not exactly idiots perhaps, but certainly with people who don’t understand what were doing, we should be aware and ready for stuff like this. Last minute changes are going to be part-and-parcel of our lives.

It took me ten minutes to re-factor my code, and it’ll take me twenty to explain it. Shouting about how, “I’ve paid good money for this course and…”, is understandable, but in the real world we are going to have to put up with it on a regular basis.

Get over it folks – we ain’t in control, let’s get’s used to it.


Almost done. Not the best code that I can do but for now it’ll have to suffice.

The report

Don’t ask. Not one jot or tittle different from when I last wrote. Under two weeks now and I can feel panic approaching the building.


Getting close…

Just over a week to go now. Doesn’t time fly?

Progress report

I’ve finished my coding, well it’s ready to be submitted and I’m going to leave it like that. There are some things I could do but it’s working and it’s fairly well coded – I think. Whether it meets the marking criteria or not is another matter.

I didn’t have too much bother with the coding, the only sticking point was handling pointless page-refreshing or back button hitting by a user. Because of the way the pages are set up the we aren’t allowed to do a self-post and re-direct which is my usual way of coping with this abhorrent behaviour. In the end I couldn’t find any, truly, satisfactory way of doing this, but I explained the problem which may be enough.

The only other annoyance was the database we were given; it was almost if it had been designed purely to make things hard for us. Well not hard perhaps, but there were a couple of places where I could have significantly improved the code if it had been set up properly.

The code description took me almost as long as the code itself. Documentation, for me, is always hateful but I suppose essential. Certainly I wouldn’t envy the marker’s task if it wasn’t there.

The report has been open all day but no words have been added yet. So you could say that progress was glacial and be exaggerating.

Well I’d best be off to think of something sensible to say about database integrity.


I lied

I boasted in the cafe that I’d completed the coding for this course in eight hours and that I had the prototype done in two. But reading my own gibberish I find that I originally claimed to have the quick-and-dirty ready in those same eight hours. So I lied – somewhere. So let’s ask the journalists’ three questions: Where? Why? When? Yes, that should be four but we know the who.

The odd thing is that I didn’t mean to lie, somewhat unusual but true. So what’s happening here? Am I mad? There is of course a distinct possibility that this is the case but we’ll leave that to one side for the moment.

The facts

I did the sane thing: I asked my wife. She confirmed that I’d spent about eight hours last weekend ’on the computer’. She then looked at me with that closed mouth that speaks volumes. But I did have the quick-and-dirty ready at the end of that. So not two hours then. So the where is the cafe. And I guess that that should deal with the when too.

The why?

This is where I’m unsure. I really feel that I haven’t spent that much time coding. I did eight hours [apparently] last weekend and I’ve done the odd bits and bobs during the week. But it all seems to have taken no time at all.

Now, other coders whom I respect, have said that they’ve found this ECA hard. I really haven’t but, as I now discover, I’ve no idea how much time I thrown at it; is it possible that I’ve forgotten how hard it was?

And, so…

I will say that I’ve enjoyed the coding on this course in a way that I haven’t enjoyed a course since “ that would be javascript” so perhaps my opinions are coloured. But this is a blog so…

In the end I’m not going to answer the question because my thinking is all over the place with this one; and it needs sober reflection. But I will say that I like PHP, and that when I’m writing it time doesn’t seem to be actual time.

Doctor Who or a liar? The second methinks.


The demon drink

I wrote the previous entry when I was drunk – did you guess?

Anyway, I thought that I’d better explain what I was getting at: that special place.

The special place

I find that to do any, serious, coding you have to get your mind into a certain mode. A mode that takes no account of time, or the need for a fag, or anything other than the code and the click-face. It isn’t an easy place to get to; it takes an effort of will. But when you’re there it all just flows.

I can code when I’m not in the zone, but it ain’t fun and I find that everything is a distraction.

But there’s a danger

When things go wrong it can be hard to disconnect. When you’re in the zone its all too easy to ‘paint a picture’ of what you think is happening. All well and good when you’re right, but if you’re wrong the special place is then the enemy. You can spend hours doing something that’s never going to work and because you’re in the zone you won’t notice it.

At this point what you need to do is to stop and to think about something else. I’ve found again, and again, that if I’m having a difficulty stopping and coming back to it later works wonders.

The moral?

It’s a fine line, tread it carefully. Learn what tricks are necessary to get yourself into the zone, but develop a part of your mind that watches. So that when you do get stuck you’re able to stop yourself repeatedly smashing your head on a, metaphorical, brick wall.

Hmm, all very Zen, but I suppose it is a Sunday morning. Well best be off and try to get myself into the zone for the report.


Getting close…

The ECA conference is busy tonight, as it has been over the last few days. Panicked questions about the code, the word count, the meaning of this and what will be marked are being asked and answered again and again. The end is indeed nigh, we’ve all been here before and we’re all aware of it. It’s always thus for some of us. Some are done and dusted, but most of us are either disorganized or like our adrenaline.

And me?

I’ve been bashing away at the report for what seems like days, but then we know that I can’t measure time don’t we? The word count remains stubbornly static however much I type. I can feel bits of it starting to gel but there’s one huge section that just doesn’t seem to be coming together – that would be nearly half of it. And I’m not getting that feeling – that I’ve had for my best reports, that I’m on the right track.

I’ve given up for tonight in the hope that a break and a sleep will help. I think I’ll put the course notes under my pillow, the report fairy may visit or it may seep into my skull somehow. Yes, desperate straits.

At least I’ve not been tempted to talk about my coding. I have been tempted to do some coding, but the thought of having to change the documentation is putting me off. Thankfully.

The others

Fall into three broad categories [we won’t discuss those who have finished].

  1. The struggling coders.
  2. The massively over word count.
  3. The haven’t finished the report.

I’m in group 3 above. I’ve never, well at this stage, not had working code to submit. True I might not be proud of it but it’s working. I’ve also never had too many words. Well sometimes I’ve had fifty or so but nothing extreme. Usually I struggle, in reports at least, to find enough to say.

Why do we do it?

At about this time we all ask this question but the answer is deceptively simple – however much hell it is we enjoy it.


That’s all folks

Well I uploaded the last, final and ultimate version of my ECA about a hour ago, a good eighteen hours before the deadline. I could keep working on it but if I’ve learnt one thing on these courses it’s that last minute changes can lead to last minute disasters. I suppose I could keep a stable copy and play. Of course if I’d spent more time learning version control and I had a repository I’d be in clover. But in the end you have to stop sometime and the trick, I suppose, is to know when. Better to stop because you think it’s nearly there than to stop because you’ve got to submit.

Now that it’s all over I’ve all the usual feelings: dissatisfaction with what I submitted, relief, trepidation about the result, but most of all the feeling that I could have done better. But in the end even your best is never going to be good enough is it?

So, good course?

Well I’m going to do a full write-up in the next few days but the short answer is yes. I enjoyed it immensely and I think that there we were introduced to a lot of important topics. I say introduced because by their very nature the tts are sprints and real life is a marathon; what you learn on tts is only the jumping-off point for further study.

All the tts have their weaknesses, I’m afraid that that’s just the way it is; you have to concentrate on their strengths. The force was <strong /> with this one.

Oh dear, this blog

I’ve just read the whole of this blog. When writing a new bit I usually look at the last couple of entries to see what I’ve been thinking but I rarely read the lot. I’ve just done so now. I’m not impressed. I’m guilty of the following:

  • I’m repetitive
  • I drone on and on
  • I promise lots of things, things that don’t happen
  • I ramble

All I can say is sorry. But it isn’t going to stop me doing it again.

Five down

Only one course left for me and for a lot of others who started back in October 2006 with tt280. Time to start planning what I’m going to do after it’s all over methinks. And time to work out how I’m going to pay for it.

But for now we journey to the heart of the beast – the web server.