Post11: Reading week and CMS Projects

Today was the last day for our reading week and for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Although I didn’t get the chance to see the games but the closing ceremony was great and I really enjoyed all ceremony events. Achieving 25 Medals for Canada was a great job mainly the two golden medals in the hockey game for both men and women.

Anyway, come back to study, the last week I tried to focus on PHP and ASP.NET courses as these are the heavy ones compared with others. Actually most of the time, I spent in developing and enhancing the front end for our PHP project. Leave Management System (LMS), which is the name of our project, It’s very important for any company mainly the human resource department. This web application is for recording, controlling and monitoring all types of employees leaving across any organization. To me, I found that analyzing what type of input and output that each feature of the project should have is more difficult than the coding itself. For this project, we have to play the two roles: the clients and the developers at the same time. As a team of 4 students, we have to come up with all ideas and the requirements for the project before starting the development process.

For ASP.NET project, that one has a different story, as we have to rebuild and existing website of a hospital to be a Content Management System. The website has to have public pages that any visitor can see plus admin pages that only admin users can access in order to change or edit the website; these are the same requirements for the PHP project also. However, for the ASP.NET we have the material, the components, or an example to start from so the task is a little bit easier since we know what is the input and output for each feature because all these features already exist in the current hospital website; we just need to start the development process using ASP.NET.

Finally, there are no more other ideas to share or write in this post, this week will have all the midterm exams and I hope we can do well in all of them.

Post 9: Our Skills, PDO (PHP Data Objects), and AJAX with ASP.NET

Talking about the soft skills and the hard skills in career connections class was quick but intensive. As we know the hard skills are the industrial abilities, such as the object oriented programming or responsive design for the web development field, the soft skills are the interpersonal skills. These two types of skills are essential contents for any resume. Today, as there are so many web designers and developers that might share the same hard skills knowledge in applying for a job the main differentiation among them will be the soft skills. Identify our soft skills is as important as hard skills and even more especially for the job interviews.

It was a great movement in PHP Class when we used PDO (PHP Data Objects) to connect our application with the database as I used to use MySQL function to connect to the database but this method became absolute. PDO, as the name indicates is built in using Objects, as I mentioned in my previous post that using OOP became something crucial for any professional programmer or developer. But the main advantage of using PDO instead of MySQL function is that the first works with any type of database through using the same PHP code that supports most popular databases because it defines a consistent interface for accessing any database like MS SQL Server, Oracle, and for sure MySQL, while the second deals with only MySQL database.

With the ASP.NET class, we are still diving into using AJAX framework. Again, Microsoft provides a rich and asserting toolkit with its AJAX control that makes the development cycle much easier for .NET developers. In the class, we learned about the Animation extender control. This control enables us to target one or more elements in a page and play an animation.


In career connections class, we talked about some interview questions and especially STAR technique for answering some kind of questions about a story or an event related to my previous experience. The acronym STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Results. We can give an example of a situation where we had to face a challenge; the task is what we should have to do or to achieve in that situation, the action that we took to overcome the problem and finally the result which how well my action reflected on the situation in a positive way.

As I expected the XML class will be, we went beyond the basic topics of using XML to using a language called XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations). XSLT is a way to transform XML from one format to another, for example converting an XML document to HTML document. Although the output of transformation could be in any form of text file, XSLT can only operate XML files. XSLT has some terms or commands that are used in other programming languages but it is a declarative language and uses templates to define the output that should result from processing different parts of the source files (XML documents). In the lab exercise, we had to retrieve different info, in other words, targeting different elements and attributes in the source XML file. The task was interesting; it was my first time to use or work on this language.

For ASP.NET class, using AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) with ASP.NET was easier than using AJAX with JavaScript, again as I mentioned before in my previous posts that ASP.NET framework has many built-in libraries that do many tasks behind the scene on behalf of the programmer. Microsoft wants to provide their ASP.NET developers the tools they need to build pure client-side Ajax applications easily without going deep in learning JavaScript or even writing a single line of JavaScript code. Therefore, Microsoft has both a server-side Ajax framework and a client-side Ajax framework.

For the PHP Class, we had to write some codes using the Object Oriented part of PHP. Although PHP is not a strongly object-oriented language (OOP) like C# or JAVA and it’s a server side scripting language, but it has started supporting OOP since version 3 and improved in PHP 4 and finally many new features had been introduced in PHP 5. Going OOP is really necessary in today’s world and with all these sophisticated web applications, there is no doubt that OOP became something essential to any developer or programmer even with JavaScript.

The subjects or the information in Security and Quality Assurance class still in theory and sometimes I find it no easy to grasp. We didn’t get the chance yet to have our hand dirty with coding as we need to master the fundamental before applying these information to our code. I think when we start coding using the security topics that we learned in our code (PHP and JavaScript) understanding the whole idea will become much easier.