My Apprenticeship - Wednesday, July 14, 2004

14 Jul 2004

In the summer of 2009 I revisited my 2004 summer apprenticeship at Object Mentor. What follows is the original 2004 post and then some 2009 commentary.

The problem with a ‘five minute install’ is that if you go beyond 5 minutes, you are screwed. A five minute install is doing a lot of things behind the scenes. If those hidden processes fail, then you don’t have anything to look at. The configuration file for Word Press is very simple: You tell it the database’s name, the user’s name, the user’s password, and where to look for the server. Once you’ve verified that the database does exist (by messing around in MySQL), the user has access, and the password is correct then only the server is left. Which is quickly crossed out by accessing the database through the server (which is running on the localhost). Now what? There’s really nothing else to change.

After banging my head against this all day (Well not actually all day. When I arrived this morning the power was out and so I had no access to the Linux box. When the power came on, there was no internet until a number of things were restarted. Most of the mess got sorted out by 11am.) I have come to the conclusion, with Paul’s help, that this Appache/PHP/MySQL bundle I’ve been using (which is called Xampp) may not be working correctly. There’s also the issue of MySQL being installed in two places on the machine (I didn’t know it was already there) so Word Press may be trying to access the wrong place. Or there’s the fact that .php files aren’t being recognized as PHP files unless I specifically run them by typing, for example: php install.php All this leads me to believe that I probably am going to have to uninstall Xampp and set up Apache, MySQL, and PHP the old fashioned way.

I better not have to re-re-re-install Linux.

Here’s a bit of weirdness: Last night I woke up at 3:43 in the morning. As I blearily stared at the clock I thought “3:43, that should be public static.”

Paul mentioned that he isn’t allowed to use most of what he knows in his college programming classes. If he writes tests, he has to strip them out. And if he were to use a Visitor pattern and his professors didn’t understand it he would be marked down. So he spends 9 months out of the year having to ignore what he learned in the other 3. That’s not cool. Speaking of the Visitor pattern, it looks like I’m going to get to take a class at Object Mentor in advanced object programming and patterns. David is scheduled to teach this class, but since he’s only taken it once, he wants to teach Paul and I first so that he can get his moves down and spot potential questions. Good for him and me because, although I’ve heard people talking about patterns in the office, I’ve only used the state machine pattern and not much else.

I wonder how test-friendly colleges have gotten in the past 5 years and if you make students write tests will they learn to hate them? I know a lot of students would ask me to teach them something about Quantum Physics because they had read a cool article or seen a ‘Nova.’ However, when they actually had to study about quarks and weak forces they were decidedly less enthusiastic.

So which one of the potential problems I outlined with the 5 minute install do you think is really the cause of its failure? The 2 databases? Xamp? The .php files not being recognized? An unsuccessful install of Linux? And how many more days before the 5 minute install draws to a close?

“public static” – funny.