What I Have Done? -Emmanuel

I started out clueless, thinking I was going to be using commands in a terminal to create a website for the BROWN & WHITE. No, everything I learned during the first week of my project was purposefully to enhance my understanding of what goes on behind the inputting of information as I create the web pages.

The BROWN & WHITE is set up on a virtual server, separate from the world wide web, which means you will not find it online until the final decision and all the security tools allow me and my team to do so. In the mean time, the virtual server allows program to be accessed offline and one of the programs that I am running on for this project is Joomla!

Joomla is perfect for newspaper publications. As an administrator, my privileges match my responsibilities. I am allowed to assign users and give them permissions. I am allowed to create groups, set passwords and send invitations to people to become Authors, Editor and Publishers of the Brown and White. When the mission of this project is accomplished, members of the BROWN AND WHITE club will be invited through an email. If a member is assigned the permission of an Author, he or she will be able to submit stories to a category called Articles. A member with the assignment of an Editor will be able to see submitted stories highlighted in blue, any time he or she logs in. Saving an edited article is obviously the last step an Editor will have to take care of. When a Publisher logs in, even an article that has been edited previously be an Editor can still be modified. Here is where the Publisher has the most privileges over all users: the Publisher chooses a more specific category that is appropriate for the article and then changes the preference from unpublished to publish. This is not a must-do because then it would just be an ordinary/uncategorized article. The publisher can also mark the article to become a featured article on the webpage.

It took me a while to come up with a design for the webpage; first, I realized I do not have banners, logos and a brief of what the website should look like. Carl however advised that it would be much easier to go through the example pages on Joomla! I started out like an eleven year old on a playground packed with blocks and boxes. On the administrative page, I pranced through directions on the management of Articles, Categories, Extensions, Modules and everything else that will be helpful to know about before messing things up. I believe Templates were apart of the package too, but I have not even tested that yet. Oh?

The webpage is looking slick and sly. I have one more day to dust it up a bit and pimp my ride out of ‘Town. Frankly, I am tired of looking at the screen, my stress gets worse around two o’clock and that is my time to hit the gym. Time out for me today, I came in at 8:00ish and I gotta roll ‘cause it is 5:00 p.m. That’s dedication, but this job and me, not congenial for personal reasons, “I gotta stay fly.” You know, Three Six Mafia …



When In Doubt…

Hi Friends,
This is Emmanuel; once again as a member of the class of 2011, I feel grateful for all the support from the Faculty and Staff, parents and friends for doing amazing things for us. I feel blessed and eager to be a part of the cause in making this world a better place to live while learning something from everyone around us. Everyday is a learning opportunity so as I am doing this senior project with Carl and the Westtown Tech office, I hope that each and every one of us will be able to capitalize and complete their goals in the time period that we have. When in doubt, ask someone else with greater knowledge and understanding. Dont forget to breathe, be studious and keep moving. Now, here is the puzzle of the day…
Who would have thought four years ago that I would be learning all kinds of Computer programming languages? I arrived on the Westtown School campus  from Ghana in September 2007, and for my Senior Project, I hope to accomplish a task which implements an online version of the Brown and White newspapers. I am grateful to Carol Metzker, who sat down with me while in Ghana and taught me how to use a mouse and a keyboard to write my word documents.
Guess what? The first laptop computer that became my own was a gift from Teacher Mike Duffey. Now, that computer had ubuntu, a Linux platform, which is amazing if you are a gamer or someone who likes jamming. During freshmen year, my roommate Will’s laptop was what the French would describe as, “a la mode”  in fashion; he was using a MacBook and I believe he still is. Will gave me permission to explore some of the hottest programs like iMovie and GarageBand on his laptop and that got me thinking about getting a Mac for myself. Wow, I could tell the difference in efficiency,  processing and user-friendliness. In stone house, I would save files on a flash drive and connect it to a port on one of the Dell desktop computers in the lounge and print my papers. I learned a lot quickly about computers during that year and I wanted to know more so I applied to become a computer proctor for the beginning of my sophomore year.

February 21, 2011.
For the first time today, I had my eyes gazing at the splendor of communicating in machine language through directories and commands. My attention was caught, peeking through a new window that I have always ignored. Inside an application folder you may find the terminal program or “just right click on the desktop,” Carl suggests; there, open Terminal.
Whenever that window is open, it is blank like a new sheet of paper; it is a whole new world and today I took the courage to walk onto the Linux platform. I am not kidding. This important visit is for my conditioning, which is necessary if I really want the advantage as I will be walking on the sidewalks with another window and an interface to bridge communications. I am wired.
Yeah, so this week I have learning and getting things under control to do in the Terminal. Wow! The big wind was storming in my head. I realized today that this platform is nothing like Java. Gradually, I have learned a few commands and codes to get access to some data. After thorough reading, the compiler or maybe the run time module responds to my requests like a tour guide for the cool kid on the block. Here goes one of my inputs mkdir (make directory) Senior, and a new folder is created within the space that belongs to a user. “Very cool,” I say to Carl. Really, this is superb.

Brown and White Online

Emmanuel Arthur’s Senior Project:

On February 18, my senior project begins. This is what Carl Beehler, my sponsor, wrote to Steve Compton. Honestly, I am excited that I get to utilize some of the knowledge I have acquired in Computer Science class, and this will probably give me a sense of whether I want to work in the field of programming as my future career.  

Description: Implement online publishing platform for Brown and White
Sponsor: Carl Beehler/Tech Office
Phase 1 (Dec-Jan):
  • Take self-study course “An introduction to open source” (provided by Tech Office)
  • Read additional provided materials on Apache web server
  • Do quick write-up explaining interactions between components of the LAMP platform (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP)
Phase 2 (Jan-March):
  • Evaluate open source web publishing platforms on site http://php.opensourcecms.com/.
  • Try out demos for 5 platforms including Joomla and Drupal with news article publishing in mind.
  • Present short paper on which platform seems best for Brown and White use.
Phase 3 (Project/Break)
  • Install and configure Content Management System on web server
  • Set up templates, etc. for Brown and White publishing
  • Create basic ‘how-to’ guide for Brown and White staff
Much of the above is self-study and/or self guided. Assistance will be provided as needed by Carl or his staff if questions arise.
Some of the resources required to do such a project are relatively complicated and can’t be completely learned in the time available. This will lead to a slight disconnect between the conceptual and practical parts of this project.
Resources such as the web server will be preconfigured for use in the project with an eye towards having the project approved as a production service on campus.