Arman's stuff
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Web Stuff

(Wed Nov 11 10:18:41 2009)

At work, I'm "transitioning" from Electrical/Process Engineer to Web Designer/Process Engineer.

...which means that I'm getting to play with a lot more web stuff. And the first thing I've learned? No one man can do everything web related.

First you have the backend, the bits on the server nobody but the designers see. It makes everything work. That part is actually pretty easy; there's a bit of how-do-we-do-THAT that goes on, but not a lot; the technology is pretty open (I use Perl/CGI/MySQL here, VB.Net/ASPX/SQLServer at work, etc.), so there's room to work. The frontend is harder (especially with ASPX); do you use AJAX or an equivalent? Do you embed styles, or go with a template? Is security a concern? How much of one? And so on...

Here, Perl does a good job. There really aren't that many pages; a non-registered user will only see five or six pages, and registered users only see another five or six on top of that (at least on the Blag!?! side). Perl/CGI drives the pages, a MySQL database holds the information, and one or two pages (currently) have a little JavaScript, plus, of course, a single CSS file. No JavaScript libraries, very little AJAX, and a super-simple backend.

At work, however, there are zillions of pages. Really. It's a pain. But what's more of a pain is the *number* of web technologies in play. VB.Net/ASPX to drive the pages, JavaScript for page refreshes and more (and more, and more...), a huge database for all the hundreds of kinds of things we need to store (from user information to images - yes, we store images in the database), XML to bring out data, XSLT to format it, CSS to style it, Java applets, Flash... the list goes on. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm learning a whole bunch, and generally enjoying myself, but the number of things I have to keep in my head is staggering. I have to know VB.Net, C#, SQL, XML/XSLT, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Java, just to work on ONE PAGE! That's nine different technologies! Granted, only one page has Java, few pages actually require me to use SQL, and I don't usually touch the C# pages, but that still leaves five technologies.

And that, my friends, is why I haven't worked on the site much. I'm stuck at version 0.9999, because I just can't stick Perl/CGI into my head with everything else and still be able to function. As a human being. Seriously. Three more languages, and I'm going to start howling at the moon and biting my own shadow. Just you wait.

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