July 8th, 2008

krazy koati

Problems all left alone, weekenders on our own

I've been working on what I think is an interesting little web project, one which will serve to replace a lost and dearly beloved web site and which is proving a challenge to my web programming skills. Before I started this my web programming skills had been honed mostly between 1994 and 1996, learning on which end of an HTML tag to put the / symbol, with a short bit in 2001 to learn just enough style sheets that I felt I could feel snottily superior in putting ``Valid HTML Code'' stickers on my web pages. The web browser iCab, for the Mac, encouraged this habit since it puts up a frowny face for all web pages with HTML, Javascript, or style sheet errors, and a smiley face for the estimated five web pages which are flawless.

So the challenge has let me dive into the world of dynamic web pages, as well as into database programming. These were skills necessary for my extruded office project as well, you understand, but the needed programming was vastly simpler and more straightforward in that case. (In particular, the database that uses is by design not to be tampered with from a web page, so that all sorts of issues become much simpler.) So I've had the chance to pick up a few new computer languages and get back into the old thrill of writing code, then going back and rewriting it from the top closer to the way it should have been written in the first place. (I learned my lessons from The Mythical Man-Month.)

Recently, I was thinking about the problem of how to add particular features to my project. Right now I have that working, through a bit of Javascript which I don't like because I like pages that make sense without having Javascript turned on, and I could see a way to add that feature without Javascript at the expense of passing far more variables around than is elegant. And then, as if a flash, I realized:

I could rewrite a key portion of the code using object-oriented PHP programming techniques and everything would fall neatly into place!

My joy at this was short-lived as I realized there is no logically valid reason for a person to feel joyous at realizing he has the chance to deploy object-oriented PHP programming techniques. The most extreme emotion which would be appropriate to realizing this solution is a mild sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. I'm reminded of the time I called out orv for his declaration that ``IDE is a particularly interesting hard drive specification'' when the combination of words proves there can't be any such thing.

Trivia: ``The Theory and Techniques for Design of Digital Computers'', a seminar session creating a pool of people knowing what there was to know about computer science, essentially, ran from 8 July to 31 August 1946, with 48 lectures. Source: Eniac, Scott McCartney.

Currently Reading: Ball Four: 20th Anniversary Edition Jim Bouton. Baseball diary of 1969 for a knuckleball pitcher with the Seattle Pilots, vaguely familiar as a baseball-shaped structure briefly existing in Seattle. The cover warns that it was considered explosive and the Commissioner of Baseball wanted Bouton to retract the whole thing and people regarded him as a pariah for his revelations, but at this remove it's hard to see what the fuss is about. Gee, pro baseball players pop amphetamines and look up women's skirts? And Mickey Mantle drinks? What's the fuss? (It's a quite interesting read, though, and where else are you going to hear anything about the Pilots?)