New World

Here is an attempt at a positive post with our new vendor, Desire2Learn.

In the Old World, WebCT/Blackboard, my role was to develop install the application / databases, monitor for problems, automate systems to run without the need of humans, or to make it simple for humans to do.

In the New World, Desire2Learn, my role is to install database software, monitor for problems, automate systems to run without the need of humans, or to make it simple for humans to do. Desire2Learn installs the application. Temporarily I am doing content migration work.

In both worlds I do reverse engineering. An understanding of the principles behind the technology help me determine when and where are the problems. We can then hopefully prevent them from happening, detect the problems early, or solve them quickly.

A web server is a web server is a web server, right? Both Weblogic and IIS listen on ports 80 and 443. Files sitting in directories are either served to web browsers or execute code whose results are then served. Both Oracle and SQL Server have tables, views, indexes, and data files. Beyond the basic principles, though, things get hairy. The detail matter quite a bit.

Compiling Apache, PHP, and MySQL from source led to understanding the intimate details of how they worked. Automating Weblogic into silent installs and later working with cloning the install, led to understanding the intimate details of how it works. With IIS delivered to me and Desire2Learn installing the application, I feel very lost.

Throw in this is a very new operating system, database, programming languages, and scripting languages for me.

Basically I feel like I am reverse engineering blindfolded while building the boat I am using to cross the ocean and world is flat. The whole time I wonder when I will sail over the edge.

from Rants, Raves, and Rhetoric v4

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