If you’ve spent more than a few years in the programming or technology business, sometimes it takes a bit of a refresher course to take you back to that warm, fuzzy feeling that comes from accomplishing your first programming “miracle”. Yesterday, I happened to give that refresher course to myself while walking my twin brother, Andrew, through the first steps of setting up a MySQL database and creating a simple PHP page which displayed the contents of a table. I tell you, when I heard my brother say for the first time, “Wow, that’s really cool!”, it took me back about ten years to that “lightbulb-going-on” moment when I created my first Symantec Q&A database application on a 386 machine in a warehouse at United Parcel Service.
That feeling, you know, the one of “holy crap, I just made the computer do something!” It’s a pretty great feeling, as I’m sure anyone reading this will attest. It’s a feeling of simultaneous bewilderment mixed with emotions of empowerment. It’s also, as my brother will find out in the coming weeks as I am sure he will dig deeper into the art of programming, an event that is frequently matched with the self-doubt-inspiring frustration of hitting a wall with a bug you cannot fix with a fledgling bank of programming experience. To this, my brother, I say, take heart! There is a world of people out there who can and will help you struggle through your first steps in this confounded world of software.
In part due to my brother’s experience, I will be spending a few hours on the Newbie MySQL forums this week in an effort to help those brave beginners amongst us. I encourage all of you to do something similar to help out the “previous me and you” out there.
Additionally, I have started a Forge wiki page which I encourage all the experts out there to contribute good novice documentation to. I have added links to articles (currently not filled in). If you feel like contributing an article, please do so, and feel free to add more article links to the pages.