— Shaun's CompSci BLOG

I came into this class knowing very little about internet software. I’ll put it like this: I could create a basic webpage in html, and open the file in a browser, but that was it. I had no knowledge of web servers. I had no knowledge of thing such frameworks. I had heard of Mobile-first design, but did not know how to implement it. Servers, PhP, AJAX, JQuery; all these technologies were a mystery to me except for the fact they worked on the web. I’m not sure if it just feels that I have come a long way because I knew so little at first or rather I in fact did learn as much as it feels I have.

I think a good metric of knowledge learned is the time spent staring at a screen coaxing it to give you then answers to a particularly difficult bit of code, but that is only true if you are actually searching for it, on Google or are forced to come up with a work around. Anyway you dice it, by the end of this semester I had a web page up and running on the schools servers that featured a Physics Engine and Graphics Library running on Javascript; a 700+ line application connected to a MySQL database via AJAX post requests. Many of the pages were PhP scripts and were dynamically generated based on session variables. To help relay the information, I’ll break it down into groups and bullets for brevity:

HTML:

  • Learned many new tags
  • Became well acquainted with tag attributes
  • Came to understand and Use Form & Input tags

CSS:

  • Learned to use a Web Framework (Bootstrap)
  • Created personalized style sheets
  • Learn to use inline,<style>tag, & external (linked) style sheets

PHP:

  • Learned to run a PhP server from home
  • Can generate html from php
  • Used PhP to interact with servers
  • Learned about the dangers of PhP, Server Security, & SQL Injection, etc.
  • Became comfortable using POST & GET request.
  • Learned to Use SESSION Variables

Javascript/JQuery:

  • Using anonymous functions
  • Using JQuery to dynamically alter web pages
  • Using JQuery to scan and grab data off external web pages
  • Working with Javascript libraries (Box2dWeb/ iioEngine/ ProcessingJS)
  • Managing multiple levels of code, between, the canvas, html, box2d, & iioEngine
  • AJAX search Queries!
  • Using the DOM with JQuery

MySQL

  • Implementing a MySQL database.
  • Even though we came from a Database class we never implemented one at this level, it was mainly theory and an Access Database Project at the end.
  • Migrating data between databases
  • Accessing a database remotely
  • Storing data & sorting/ retrieving data by a key/ foreign key

In Conclusion

I have to say, one  of the reasons we were able to learn so much in this class is a lot of it is stuff we have learned before, here’s what I mean to say. My feeling with many classes is they have a rather myopic view of our current stance in the computer technology field, where as this course seems to have a broader view (though I’m sure it could have been reduced down further had Dr.Brown had not been our instructor). I’ll put it like this: I did not know javascript, but I knew Java, so javascript was not hard to understand the syntax, it was just difficult to put it to use on the web. I understood the basic concepts of SQL & the Relational Database model, but I had simply never put it to use, so much of the knowledge I had forgotten even almost immediately after Professor Barber’s class.

Putting the knowledge to use helped me recall quite a bit of what I had forgotten and helped me understand how it all fits together.There is some brand new stuff we learned as well such as communicating between the server and the client, but really even this we knew the basics of from Mrs. Burlingame’s Intro to CSIT 1010. We were able to learn so much because we had been learning these things all along, but there are few classes that let you put it all together and to good use. I think Intro to Internet Software really was the great integrator to me. I think creating our own web pages really helped in, that these thing these developers do, really isn’t some magic, but it is easily attainable, and we had the skills do do much of it all along, but never really realized how e could make it all fit together to become software developers.

PS: I’ve heard talk over and over again about how great a class this is moving up, and I have to say from working the students in this class. I couldn’t ask for a better group of peers. I have great confidence that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind out to do. I look forward to working with the few form this class who will be joining me in the Capstone course. Happy Holidays.

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