Started my report off with a bang last Thursday and Friday!

At the time of writing, I’m currently at 3300 words out of a planned 12000.
Everything in terms of content seems to be going quite well, although I’m finding it difficult to write up information about HotHouse that doesn’t sound sales pitchy… Not an easy task.
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As per my last post, I sat down with some of the guys and girls at HotHouse to see how they have casually though of me, as an intern.

All of them said I have been a wonderful addition to the crew and they could not have asked for better! That felt pretty awesome and I really appreciated it. The important part of this meeting was actually for me to ask if they were willing to take me on, but it seems they will need to have a meeting amongst themselves as to what they can offer. I’m guessing this is only going to be part-time and that is something I can’t settle for, given my circumstances. But, we shall see!

We also discussed things that I have felt good and bad about and I only really had good things to say. My time at HH has been excellent and the references I get are likely to be stellar. My only gripe was that I will most likely not get to see the full release of Hangar 58’s website as some of the heavier integration stuff has been delayed quite a bit. Although this is unfortunate, it comes with the territory.

In my report, I will be able to outline in detail, what it is like to work with clients and deadlines and how the initial plans of these aspects can be greatly affected by means outside of our control. This is something I wasn’t used to going into HotHouse and has been an eye-opening learning curve. Jane and the crew did ask me to come in and be involved in the launch and testing of the integration and all of the work will have my name on it, which will be AWESOME for my CV/portfolio.

I also agreed with the crew, that my remaining time will mostly (if not all) spent writing my report. I have started with a basic schema which I will put in my next post. Mary-Jane (lead graphic designer) is showing my some cool features of Adobe inDesign, which is really, well-suited for document writing and layout.

Later on this week, I will try get some neat photos with the crew to use in my report and poster.

So this week was only 2 days for me as I had decided to take a day off to be with the family. Thursday and Friday however, were both full on with Hangar 58 work.

Before I go into that, I have set up a meeting for this coming Monday to ask how well I have performed over the last few months – and ask if they might want to take me on as paid staff!

Is there room for another learning developer?

Yes. I think so anyway. With all the work Hothouse has been doing during the time I have been there and all the work they have lined up, they are highly likely to need more staff to cover everything. This is only highlighted by the fact that Alex (the lead developer) was supposed to have left HotHouse way back at the tail-end of August, but he is still there mostly because of how much work there is still to be done!

With that, I think my chances are pretty good of receiving a job offer, Alex and Riki have both said it is highly likely and because I already know the ropes, I will probably get first dibs!

Although, working for HotHouse would be awesome, especially considering I really need to have secured full-time work come the end of November, I do have other options I’m currently cultivating. I would like to work for HotHouse – but I am sceptical as to whether or not, I would feel somehow stuck in learning and applying only a particular aspect of web development (i.e. Silverstripe and other CMS systems) given that this is the HotHouse way. It’s not a bad thing, but there are loads more things I want to learn as soon as possible – which may mean working elsewhere.

The ending of this internship is very close. I was little casual about the timeline which I think had a lot to do with becoming a father – everything got a little hectic and my sense of time slipped somewhat. I was thinking a long the lines of “it’s OK, my report isn’t due until the end of November’, but alas it’s actually November 8th so I need to get things on track – report wise anyway.

WIth the end drawing nearer and nearer, I am a little worried I won’t get to see the Hangar 58 website integration completed. This week Thomas and I managed to get the connection working to the database and achieve almost everything we needed to with the Member side of things. The only struggle still involves ACR and their inherent lack of knowledge about their software. In retrospect, it would have been more worth our while to have had contacted Samford Software who is the team who actually developed the software and aren’t just middle men, like ACR. That way we could have probably had this project much closer to being completed.

However, the only real part I will be missing out on (this is, if I don’t get a job with HotHouse and don’t return) is the mobile App. This isn’t a huge deal to me as I have been involved heavily with the website integration and the app side is simply a migration to the mobile format. Nothing drastic would be going on here compared to if we built the app natively.

I have decided to give Hothouse a maximum of 2 more weeks from writing this post, to take advantage of my time. During and after this period I will be writing up my report and working on a poster.

Anyway, I will write more posts about my imminent departure from HotHouse in the coming days and weeks but I did just want to mention I have been doing some other things as well besides Hangar 58 work.

I did a little more bug fixing and content management this week too, which made for a nice break from PHP and MSSQL. For one, I created email templates for different aspects of a website with the help of MJ. MJ has also been vaguely tutoring me on Adobe InDesign which I am looking to eventually replace Photoshop (at least for some things I do). She has also offered to help me with my poster – which is awesome because she is a fantastic designer and just a cool person too.

I will be back on next week after Monday to post about my meeting with the directors at HotHouse and will hopefully get some photos taken!

Last week Thomas a finally managed to get a workable connection from the Hangar58 MSSQL database via PHP. We did get a developer from ACR to remote in on the actual H58 server box, which I had setup with Win7. After this final remote session, we used the exact same PHP connection string and hazar, it worked!

After chatting with the rep from ACR, but we can confidently say that the laptop we were using had an incompatible instance of SQL Server and having a random BSOD only solidifies that we needed to test on another machine.

So, now that we have the connection, it was on to working with the Stored Procedures. They don’t work.
The problem resides in the SwiftPos service and that it doesn’t appear to run. We contacted ACR over the issue and they have simply said to use direct SQL queries as any further support from ACR will be chargeable. This kind of makes me feel think that ACR doesn’t really know what they are doing in terms of providing development support. This is probably due to the fact that we are likely the only developers to have done this.

Using SQL queries is fine, but we are concerned that if ACR are planning software updates that affect the database structure, our system will fall over unless they notify us first.
We are running out of time, however.

Even though having all these connections and development aspects at an optimal level would be nice, we are behind in time so whatever we can do to make it work, we need to do it now.

As Thomas is the PHP genius, I am mostly taking overseeing the project so I can learn without interfering or holding back the project. Which I am fine with.

Well, the image speaks for itself.

We had a little bit of a dilemma this week in terms of Hangar 58 and the database integration. Not only are we having a good amount of trouble with connecting to the database using PHP but we also found out that the printing of the loyalty cards is to be done before we setup the back-end.

This was pretty odd sounding so on Friday we called Josh to come over to HotHouse and clear things up so we all know what is happening.

From what we gathered, pre-printing a bunch of cards saves money. It is usually pretty hard to convince a client to spend more money – even when the extra cost will make life easier in the long run. Trying this on Josh and Hangar 58 was no different, but business is business and we need to adapt to suit the client needs and wants accordingly.

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Welcome to Part 2 of this week’s post.

As mentioned in Part 1 – I was tasked with setting up a Linux web server that all the web team can use to host development projects.

Before I go into detail about the process, I thought I would lay out what I think are the pros and cons of using a dedicated development server when it comes to web. Read More

This week was a little slow.  – Part 1

Before we begin – I should probably point out the fact that I have already worked over 250 hours for HotHouse! Technically I can call it quits in about 2 more weeks but I have made the decision to stay on board with them until I am no longer required – or they offer me a job 🙂

(This week’s post will be comprised of 3 parts. This part I will talk about my general workload over this week, Part 2 will be about my experience creating a Linux Web Server and finally Part 3 will be about another meeting Thomas, Jane and I had with Josh from Hangar 58)

If anyone reading this follows me on Twitter, you might be aware that Thomas and I have been trying to get a connection working between remote computers running a MSSQL database. The SwiftPOS system for Hanagr58 needs an MSSQL database which limits how we connect to it using PHP.

The slowness of the whole ordeal is nailing down the exact PHP specifications that work with the appropriate MSSQL extension that also is compatible with SilverStripe. This is an absolute minefield as there are so many combinations that work for some of said components, but getting a workable connection between all of them proved to be a massive headache. Read More

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