Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What I'm working on and a few new things I've learned

I learned some new things today and thought I'd share them with anyone who might find them useful.... (or for anyone who's just wondering what I'm up to!)

(1) I'm working with a certain product that shall remain nameless until (and unless) I actually get it working. It's a blog and forum platform that can be mounted on our Win server.

Initially, when I'd looked at the product, I thought that I might get around the extra work that (I'd imagined) would be required from deploying an open source product - such as Drupal or WordPress (which is really a blogging platform, with fewer of the content management features found in the broader spectrum Drupal and the product that I'm struggling with now). Since this commercial product is not as easy to install and run as I'd imagined, I guess that I'll have to try the open source packages, as well. This means getting PHP and MySQL installed on our win server. More software on the server... this doesn't thrill me, but such is life.

2. In trying to deploy the platform, I realized that I'm going to have to learn SQL and ASP.NET a lot better and to do so a lot more quickly than I'd thought I would. To that end (in case you find yourself in similar circumstances), I offer some links - "Get Started with ASP.NET" (http://www.asp.net/getstarted/default.aspx?tabid=61) - this MS site provides links to some excellent web-based video lessons on developing ASP.NET through Visual Studio for people who are very low-level/beginners. I heartily recommend it if you're going that route (as opposed to developing with ColdFusion, PHP/Perl/Python, or other technologies; ASP.NET is a Microsoft product).

3. Part of one tutorial I viewed today talked about relative vs. absolute positioning - I've certainly used these techniques, but sometimes have found myself wondering why things seemed to move around compared to the way I'd originally laid them out. It turns out that I didn't really understand relative and absolute positioning. Here are a few links that are helping me to make sense of the issue that you may be interested in - particularly if you're just beginning to work with CSS (cascading stylesheets):

Finally, last but not at all least, very cool helps from Yahoo - download their open source user interface controls to learn how to program into your own library site some of the functionality they offer in theirs. But there's the rub, eh? So much code, so little time! http://developer.yahoo.com/yui/

Tomorrow, I go to the Wiki Workshop at Middletown - should be great!

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