D4DME – Final Evaluation

With the website now being completely finished I decided to evaluate how I have done over the module and how far I have come in terms of coding skills. I have 100% improved my knowledge and ability to code as the independence of writing the code with others of the same standard makes you try harder to find out solutions – not just asking Kyle.

I feel confident with PHP and HTML and look forward to working with them again, HTML is our next project and as we didn’t do a huge amount in this project, I can improve my skills throughout the next module.

Throughout this project we faced many problems – some we fixed ourselves and some that Kyle was needed to explain to us the issue. Whenever Kyle did help us, we would always go into the labs straight after and work on the area he helped us with so that we made sure we understood exactly where we went wrong and how to avoid going wrong in the future.

If I were to improve anything in this project, it would be to have included some more database tables such as a file uploader or a more complex sign up form. The project has shown me the importance of contributing when working in groups and gave me a sense of what it would be like in the ‘real world’ and working as a part of a production team.

D4DME – Progress made over the Easter Holidays/Finishing Touches

Over the Easter holidays I decided to focus on tidying up all the code and making sure it was all formatted correctly so that it will be easy to read when being marked/looked at. I split this task up over a few days as it was less tedious that doing it all in one. Another thing that Rob and Kyle suggested we do to our code is comment it so that each chunk could easily be understood by us when editing/explaining it due to us not being overly confident with what every line meant off the top of our heads. We spoke in our group chat about splitting up the pages between us so that the job could get done quicker. Due to Amy and I writing all the code we thought it would be best if we split the pages between us as we had a better understanding of what each chunk was responsible for. I decided to comment the code on the meet the team, login and signup pages and then Amy commented the code on the post and index page as these had more code involved. Below is an example of what the commenting looks like in brackets.

comment

The website is now coded properly with formatted and commented code and the PHP functions work – connecting to a database via a local server. As we managed to finish the back-end of the project with some time to spare we spent the majority of our time before easter using Bootstrap to perfect the aesthetics of the website so that the user experience would be improved. Although this wasn’t explicitly asked for us to do, we decided that in order to become confident with coding and design websites – practice is key so we took this project as an opportunity to explore and add to our knowledge of coding and brackets. Doing this, allowed me to practice previous skills used in workshops but be able to understand them and explain them in my own words – also learning various shortcuts in the Brackets programme which will be vital in future project in the next semester and next two years at university. Below are a few screenshots of how we have made the website more appealing to the eye through Bootstrap and CSS coding.

navbar

teampage

sortbybox

D4DME – Databases

As in this unit we are required to connect to and create a database, Rob and Garrett thought it would be helpful for us to have a couple of seminars looking into databases and the many roles they take on. I haven’t previously had much experience with databases so had to do some wider reading in order to understand the information taught to us in the seminars.

We looked at the associative database model which (to my understanding) is a model which works with entities that have an independent existence and the relationships between the entities are described as associations. The associations main purpose is to identify the relationship between the subject and the object. (Team)

It’s thought to be similar to the ERM however it differs slightly as an associative database creates excess storage for custom data for each user. This database is used when different data needs to be stored – as it can easily differ between various pieces, unlike the ERM.

Another database case study we looked at was The Memex which is a hypothetical machine written about in an article from 1945 entiltled ‘As We May Think’. We learnt that the article described a machine which has the potential to record a persons life (via text, voice, photography and video). This recording of ones life can also be played back and navigated through in any order via associative links inputted by its user (hyperlinks). In the seminar some of us were thinking – this is what we now call the computer or laptop or tablet or mobile. We are all familiar with hyperlinks online when you are redirected to a new page, image or piece of information.

A final database case study we looked at was Ted Nelson and Project Xanadu which is his 55 year project by which he attempted to build a computer network with a simple user interface. Its said that Xanadu will probably never be finished and will continue to be an idealised network which contains many important ideas that will remain to be used. Ted Nelson believes that interactive systems should the user maximum flexibility and not be restricted to a set of choices – limiting users possibilities.

References:

Team, Editorial. ‘The Associative Model | Online Learning’.Learn.geekinterview.com. N.p., 2008. Web. 20 Mar. 2015.

D4DME – Web 2.0, USENET and BBS Research

Over Easter, I decided to look back at what Rob had mentioned about Web 2.0 and various other subjects to research more into if we were interested. After the Net Neutrality research, I have been eager to find out and learn more about the history and unknown information of the World Wide Web. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to find out the information I needed without some in depth research. I researched into Bullet Board Systems, USENET and when Web 2.0 met Usenet 1.0.

BBS is a computer server which allows users to connect to the system using a terminal program, and enables them to post, upload, download, IM and much more. This is similar to what our groups are creating for this project as users have to sign up, log in and then post to the home page for everyone to see – even those who aren’t logged in. (Wikipedia)

Usenet is a worldwide Internet discussion system where users read and post messages (articles) to one or more categories – known as newsgroups. Usenet is very similar to BBS and the discussions are threaded just like BBS but the posts are stored on the server sequentially. (Wikipedia)

References:

Bbsdocumentary.com,. ‘The BBS Software Directory’. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Linux Magazine,. ‘Web 2.0, Meet Usenet 1.0’. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Wikipedia,. ‘Bulletin Board System’. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

Wikipedia,. ‘Usenet’. N.p., 2015. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.