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Getting a Blessing from ECS & Starting Development – Rayna’s Weekly Intern Blog #5

Heyyyyy there, it’s time for another weekly recap of what I’ve done at work!

Getting a blessing from ECS

On Monday morning Patrick and I went to Highfield to meet up with Nick Gibbins, Director of Programmes for Computer Science, who has been the primary voice of the lecturers in this project. I expected him to mostly disapprove of my proposition, given that he was a fan of the Stack Overflow idea where students can answer each other’s questions. To my surprise, he agreed that a system where lecturers are the only ones to answer questions is feasible and would be useful. He also agreed that for Stack Overflow to work, students would have to all jump ship from their current platforms at the same time and migrate their communication on there. The only compromise we had to agree on was to drop the anonymous questions idea, because it would cause problems however we decide to implement it.

This approval of my system idea gave me internal peace after a long phase of uncertainty over the project. Phew!

Starting development

I finally started coding. I hadn’t started doing that beforehand because of my anxiety over the concept – I didn’t know if anyone was going to want the system I had in my head. I also didn’t know what the exact exact requirements would be.

I used my previous dummy Laravel project (as seen in Weekly Blog #2 I think) as an example and adjusted it to fit the new system. I quickly ran into things I didn’t understand or didn’t know how to do – e.g. many-to-many relationships between models. Due to the fact that I’m new to Laravel, I was doing things in a random order to accumulate enough code to get it to do something. The system actually has some complexity to it so it took me a while to get it to a semi-semi-semi-usable state where things are hooked together.

So far I’ve got it to a point where:

  • users can be created (through the command line)
  • modules can be created (through the command line)
  • courses (instances of modules) can be created (through the command line)
  • users can ask questions through the web interface!
    • and it populates the list of courses in the drop-down with the user’s modules
  • courses can be viewed through the web interface, including all their questions
  • questions can be viewed through the interface
    • if it isn’t answered, you can answer it
    • if it is answered, the answer is displayed


I was instructed that I actually should be doing test-driven development, aka I should be making tests before I develop the respective features. I knew that!

Kev was very helpful and he explained a lot to me about how testing works in Laravel and PHP in general. It was a lot to wrap my head around but I’ve started creating some tests and I’ve made a long long list of tests that I need to write. Wooooooooooohooooooooooooooooooo

Next week

  • Make a KANBAN CHART!
  • Finish my tests such that they cover my currently developed functionality
  • Convert my process to test driven development from now on

See you then!

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