Reflections: RMH Homebase

I had a really great time working with the RMH homebase. It gave me a chance to work in some both familiar and unfamiliar territory. Over the course of the semester I have been working on another project in Drupal. Drupal, is written in PHP like the RMH homebase, and requires a SQL database to be set up for testing. With Drupal I learned how to use LAMP in linux. By the time I needed to use it in the RMH homebase, I was ready. Now there were some new unfamiliar experiences that I enjoyed tackling.

  • SimpleTest- It seemed many of my classmates, as well as myself, have not seen nor used SimpleTest before for unit testing in PHP/SQL. Thanks to advice in my classmates’ blogs I was able to set it up and get it to run for my LAMP server.
  • Refactoring– Many classes at the college go over errors and syntax in code, and they go over documentation and style, but they never teach us how to adapt. When I sat down to look at the RMH homebase code, I got a chance to try and familiarize myself with another programmer’s code. Not just that, I had to refactor it. Refactoring on such a large scale was difficult at first, but the netbeans IDE has a neat feature that allows you to search all the files within a project for certain terms. Also simply trying to understand an unfamiliar complex system quickly was a challenge. By reading the comments thoroughly, and exposing myself to as much code as possible, I was able to really familiarize myself with the key aspects of the code.
  • Considering all angles– Lastly, complex systems, like RMH homebase, taught me that you must look at every aspect of a system, every detail, every inch, and every bit to fully understand the problem and address all possible issues. For example, the login manager completed its task correctly, but it did not complete it with good security. Finishing a task does not mean the task is complete.

These experiences helped to make me a better programmer and software engineer in more ways than one. I am glad to have had the opportunity to work on the homebase and look forward to taking these lessons into my future career.

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