[ic] interchange question

Mike Heins mikeh@minivend.com
Sat, 27 Jan 2001 16:27:36 -0500

Quoting Wade Schilling (metrowax2000@yahoo.com):
> Hello all-
>    I have read much of this list, and for somebody
> quite new to programming, it's like a foreign
> language. Can anybody recommend a good place to start
> (i.e. book, website) so that I can understand from a
> basic perspective how the interchange program is
> written? The tutorial seems to be written more for a
> programmer trying to learn interchange than for a web
> seller trying to learn programming. I am not a
> programmer, but out of force of necessity I do want to
> learn interchange front to back. My previous
> developers' incompitence has led me to further believe
> that if you want something done right, do it yourself.
> Can anybody out there have a kind heart and help me to
> get this thing started? I'm not quite ready to pay
> $180 per hour for tech support when I have all this
> time to do it myself!

I think the things you need to understand for Interchange are,
in order of importance:

  1. The web. What URIs are, how they are constructed, how
  a web server gets those URIs and serves them via files
  and CGIs, etc. Some knowledge of FTP and other protocols
  is needed. And being able to operate a browser doesn't mean
  you have that down. 8-)

  A good book for that used to be "Managing Internet Information
  Systems", which is what I learned on back in 1993/4. It was published
  by O'Reilly, but I am not sure there is a current version.

  2. Database. How databases relate. What a key is, what a query is,
  what a table is, what a column and row are. Don't know a good book for that,
  I sort of picked it up on my own.

  3. UNIX, but not really UNIX. Filesystems and how to navigate them; how
  to run programs from the command line. Good DOS knowledge will usually
  suffice (sad, but Windows knowledge doesn't help much). I learned on
  "Using UNIX" but that was back in 1983 so I can't say what is good. I
  find that "Instant UNIX" is a good reference for how to do things.

  4. Perl. The classic is the Llama book, "Learning Perl". I learned on
  that (and the man pages).

I find that giving yourself permission to screw up is the most important
thing to learning anything. I don't know what works for other people,
but I do most of my good work by getting something set up that I can
play with. Trial and error. Try something, set it back to where it 
was, try again. And again. To relate that to Interchange, set up the
demo and then look at every file in the catalog directory. Change things
and try them. Then occasionally start over and do it again. Do the
catalog tutorial.

The most important tip is -- don't expect the world the first time
out. For instance, the first 6 months I looked at Perl references they
were Greek to me (only the man pages were available for learning at that
time, the first release Perl 5 wasn't out). I simply couldn't get it;
but I persisted. At some point, it all just clicked for me. And now
according to some people, I am a fair to good Perl programmer.

By far, the most important attribute of a good programmer is persistence.

Good luck!

Akopia, Inc., 131 Willow Lane, Floor 2, Oxford, OH  45056
phone +1.513.523.7621 fax 7501 <heins@akopia.com>

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