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Week 1 – PHP Overload

I will try to Include a list of Skill that each post is related to in the hopes that someone can read my posts without actually having to read them… I tend to ramble on a bit

Demonstrated Skills:
– CakePHP
– Project Management

Having previously worked for the University I thought I had a general idea of what my first week would be like. However, this is iSolutions, things are a bit different here. They had me working on the choices system which is implemented with cakePHP.

A frustrating morning installing apache2 on a VM was immediately followed by a mystifying afternoon trying to sacrifice the correct sequence of farmyard animals required by the cakePHP gods. They returned the favour by granting me with the power to add a small line of text underneath an image upload box stating that the maximum size of an image upload is 2MB. This triumph, although small, is still a worthwhile success. It basically meant that I could move a piece of paper from the backlog part of the Kanban board to the resolved part. Not bad for the first day – did I mention that I’ve never had any previous experience with PHP before this internship?


Choices Kanban board.

PHP is easy enough to pick up, I think that my previous experience with C/C++, HTML/CSS and JavaScript helped a lot, but nothing has prepared me for choices. Choices is the system for the university in which students are allocated supervisors and vice versa. It’s based on cakePHP, a framework which ““makes building both small and complex systems simpler, easier and, of course, tastier”” – official cakePHP homepage ‘’ (I used double quotes: one set for the quote itself, and one for the sarcastic delivery. Let me know if there is a special piece of punctuation for that exact purpose).

I soon moved onto the next piece of paper. This was more complex than the first. A problem was bought to our attention; a user could enter a long list of choosers to the list. A flash message would appear stating that ‘x’ choosers were added but with no feedback about which choosers were not added. I implemented a method to retrieve the error associated and list the un-added users. This forced me to delve deeper into the inner workings of cakePHP. With each new piece of paper passed my way I slowly (and painfully) understood cakePHP slightly more.

I have learnt a lot in this first week of my internship and I truly enjoy being part of the iSolutions team. Despite the headache of cakePHP, the work is engaging. The satisfaction of moving a piece of paper from one side of the board to the other is akin to completing a challenging boss fight in a video game. I look forward to when I can start my own project and also the obligatory round of mini-golf with the iSolutions crew.

Posted in Apache, Database, HTTP, Javascript, PHP, Programming.

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