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“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in his cosmic loneliness.

And God said, “Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done.” And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat, looked around, and spoke. “What is the purpose of all this?” he asked politely.

“Everything must have a purpose?” asked God.

“Certainly,” said man.

“Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this,” said God.

And He went away.”
― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

Bokononism

“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in his cosmic loneliness. And God said, “Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done.” And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak.

Read More

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This weekend Steve Bosworth shared a great article from net tuts+ on our program’s Facebook group. It’s titled The 11 Phases of a Web Developers Career (As Illustrated by Memes) and it is written by Jeffrey Way.

The 11 Phases are as follows:

  1. Noob
  2. The First Steps
  3. Complete Frustration
  4. The Aha Moments
  5. Fragile Code
  6. Copycat
  7. Cocky
  8. Learning Vim
  9. When Code Becomes Art
  10. Seasoned
  11. Rockstar

I found this article very relatable. To describe Phase 1 (the Noob Stage) Way writes

the period when you have absolutely no clue what youre doing. Like a fish out of water, each new line of code is a mystery. Doctype? Huh? What the heck does a <div> do? The first phase is an intimidating, scary, but exciting one. How many dang languages are there?

 

I can distinctly remember learning for the first time what a doctype was. I knew what a div was, but that isn’t much to celebrate. I was definitely out of my element.
The next phase, The First Steps is described by Way as the Phase where you slowly start building your skill set and actually start to see your code from your code editor reflected in the web browser. In this phase I often gained a sense of pleasure from trying things and seeing them visually.

Phase 3 made me laugh. It is called Complete Frustration, and it is so true.
Way writes

Imagine being lost in a cave, shining your flashlight down each tunnel, as you search for a way out. With each step, you hope to see a glimmer of light. Unfortunately, the learning curve in our industry is a steep one. That speckle of light wont come for a long time, Im sorry to say. Expect to spend hundreds of hours in this phase, reading technical books over, and over, and over, as you desperately try to make sense of the madness!

 

Our teachers have told us that this moment would could and pass, however when I was experiencing it, their words did not help. It is the point where you feel like giving up because you want to do something and you just can’t figure out how to do it. Every article, book, video is using a different version or language or program to achieve the result you want and you often end up search through Stack Overflow for hours.
Way reminds the readers at the end of this phase that “if the frustration becomes too overwhelming, find peace in the fact that every one of us felt that exact way at one point or another in our careers. Youre not alone. Stick with it, and, before long, youll reach the aha phase!”.

This brings us to the Aha Phase. It is describes by Way as “one of the greastest feelings in the world: that brief instance when, suddenly, you “get it”. This phase is definitely my favourite ones so far. I have had that experience of looking at my code and suddenly I could see exactly what I needed to do to make something happen. It made me feel like all of my studying and flipping through textbooks was suddenly worth it.

The final phase I will go over is the Fragile Code phase, because it seems to me that I am at this phase or at least approaching it. Way explains,

Like it predecessors, the Fragile phase is a lengthy one. At this point, you are successfully building applications and achieving your desired end result, but the underlying code is one client feature-request away from popping. In this phase, your methods are dozens of lines long, and the concept of testing hasnt yet entered your brain.

Although concept testing has entered my brain because of Security and quality assurance, I am fairly certain this is where I am. We are building features and websites that are achieving our desired end result, however it isn’t an easy process. It still takes a long time to build something simple, which I assume is what Jeffrey means when he writes “the underlying code is one client feature-request away from popping”.

This article was really great after a particularly stressful weekend. It helped me realize that I’m not in this alone, that it does get better, and that every web developer has gone through these phases.

Have a read for yourself: http://net.tutsplus.com/articles/general/the-11-phases-of-a-web-developers-career-as-illustrated-by-memes/

The Stages of a Web Developer’s Career

This weekend Steve Bosworth shared a great article from net tuts+ on our program’s Facebook group. It’s titled The 11 Phases of a Web Developers Career (As Illustrated by Memes) and it is written by Jeffrey Way. The 11 Phases are as follows: Noob The First Steps Complete Frustration The Aha Moments Fragile Code Copycat

Read More

For the ASP.NET website I’m building a feature that I’m working on is a virtual greeting card creator that also emails the card

I am creating a virtual greeting card creator as a feature for my ASP.NET website. It’s functionality allows a user to create a custom greeting card by selecting an image, font-color, font-size and writing a personal message. The user must also specify the e-mail address of the patient they would like to send the card to.

An issue I came across when building this feature was sending the Panel control in the e-mail. I kept getting System.Web.UI.Panel showing up as my e-mail content instead of the card that the user created.

I realized I needed to convert the Panel control into HTML so I could send it via e-mail. I found the following solution to fix my problem.

Step 1: Create a Render Control function and import the following namespaces:

using System.Web.UI.HtmlControls;
using UserControlHandlerDemo;
using System.Web.SessionState;
using System.Text;
using System.IO;
using System.Web.UI.HtmlControls;

private string RenderControl(Panel pnlCard)
{
StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
StringWriter sw = new StringWriter(sb);
HtmlTextWriter writer = new HtmlTextWriter(sw);

pnlCard.RenderControl(writer);
return sb.ToString();
}

Step 2: Create an emailClass (App_CodeemailClass.cs)

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.UI.WebControls;
using System.Web.UI.HtmlControls;
using System.Net.Mail;
using System.Net;
using System.Configuration;
using System.Net.Mime;

public class emailClass
{
public bool sendEmail(string _conName, string path, string _conEmail, string _conReason, string _conMessage)
{
MailMessage objMail = new MailMessage(_conEmail, _conEmail, _conReason, _conMessage);
NetworkCredential objNC = new NetworkCredential(“email@email.com”, “password”);
SmtpClient objSMTP = new SmtpClient(“smtp.gmail.com”, 587); // smptp server for gmail

using (objSMTP)
{

objMail.IsBodyHtml = true; // allows use of html in body
objSMTP.EnableSsl = true; // enable ssl, required for gmail
objSMTP.Credentials = objNC;
objSMTP.Send(objMail);
return true;
}
}
}

Step 3: On the code-behind of the aspx file, once the user clicks the send e-mail button call the RenderControl for the update panel and the following information is passed to the emailClass.

emailClass objEmail = new emailClass();

protected void subClick(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
TextBox txtName = (TextBox)FindControl(“txt_name”);
TextBox txtPatient = (TextBox)FindControl(“txt_patient”);
TextBox txtMessage = (TextBox)FindControl(“txt_message”);
string txtReason = “Greetings from ” + txtName.Text;
Panel pnlCard = (Panel)FindControl(“pnlCard”);
string panel_html = RenderControl(pnlCard);

_strMessage(objEmail.sendEmail(txtName.Text, txtPatient.Text.ToString(), txtReason, panel_html));// name, email, subject, message)

}

This week in PHP we learned how to send mail using the mail() function. We had to upload a php file onto our servers and send an e-mail to our group mates through that file. This sounds straightforward, however everyone in the class is using different hosting companies. There are a few people who are hosting their website on GoDaddy, a few on Hostgator (myself included), and then a handful more that I’m not sure of. Every time we have to configure something in class with our web servers it takes at least half an hour. This is due to the inconsistencies between hosting companies and the limited knowledge everyone had regarding what we would be needing our servers for specifically.

I was trying to use this simple code to send my mail:

<?php

$from = “Ender Wiggin”;
$subj = “Battle School”;
$email = “test_email@gmail.com”;
$body = “test”;
$headers = “From: anja@mydomain.com” . “rn”;
$headers .= “Reply-To: “. $email . “rn”;
$headers .= ‘Content-type: text/html’ ;

message = “<html><body><h1>$from has submitted a contact form!</h1>”;
$message .= “<p><b>Name:</b> $from</p>”;
$message .= “<p><b>Email:</b> $email</p>”;
$message .= “<p><b>Subject:</b> $subj</p>”;
$message .= “<p><b>Message:</b> $body</p>”;
$message .= “</body></html>”;

$success = mail(
“anjag@mydomain.com”,
$subj,
$message,

 

$headers);

 

echo “You did it!”;
}

?>
[disclaimer: *@mydomain.com should be replaced by whatever your domain is]

 

When I used the above code I kept getting this error:

Warning: mail() [function.mail]: SMTP server response: 550 <test_email@gmail.com> No such user here in D:InetPubvhosts….

 

It was extremely frustrating as one of my group mates who was using GoDaddy as their hosting server was able to send the e-mails with no problem and I was struggling to debug my code.

After countless hours spent googling this issue, I combined the various solutions that other users found and was able to get it working. For Hostgator Windows Shared plans, you cannot send e-mails to gmail accounts using the mail() function. Instead, I downloaded PHP Mailer and followed the instructions to upload the following files onto my server:

 class.phpmailer.php
 languages/phpmailer.lang-??.php ( 'en' is hardcoded into PHPMailer)
If you are using the SMTP mailer then copy class.smtp.php as well.

I put them in a PHP folder where I keep all my PHP projects. Next, I entered the following code:

<?php
require_once “../class.phpmailer.php”;
require_once “../class.smtp.php”;

$mail=new PHPMailer();
$mail->IsSMTP();
$mail->Host=’xx.xx.xx.xxx’; //your server address, I always enter mine in using the server IP.
$mail->Port=25; //This is used for SMTP
$mail->SMTPAuth=true; //
$mail->SMTPDebug=2;//Comment out once it works, but the debug info is invaluable
$mail->Username=”anjag@mydomain.com”; //e-mail username associated with your hosting account
$mail->Password=”password”; //your password for the email account above
$mail->setFrom(“anja@mydomain.com”); //the email you are sending it from
$mail->Subject=’Look what i CAN Do I am the Hostgator MASTER’;
$mail->Body=’Hihihihihihihi. Monkeys monkeys monkeys fly!’;
$mail->AddAddress(‘test_account@gmail.com’);/*email of person you want to send to*/
$mail->Send();
?>

And it finally worked! I thought I would share and try to save someone else from spending a whole afternoon googling.

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