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Jack's Blog

Please note that this content is very old and doesn't necessarily represent my views today. It remains here as an archive of my past - I hope it provides you some entertainment value.

I’m NOT learning Drupal – Code your own website, dammit!

No, I am not dead.

StackOverflow chat log - RSS feed with previous blog post, chat participants laugh in response.

Here’s what I used to think of development frameworks that allows you to build software or websites without sufficient knowledge:

Now: Getting the hang of how web development works, it really isn’t that hard. And I am not the only one who shares this experience.

Using Drupal, wordpress, joomla – > you learn nothing — ItachiUchiha

Allow me to take an hour to rant about why you should stop using Drupal, WordPress, or Joomla.

One grave misunderstanding of users is that if it works, it must be A++. No exceptions. The truth is that many frameworks provide the servers and extensive features in great expenses, such as insane dependencies, patches over patches, using abysmal databases such as MySQL… To put it in a more realistic way you can understand, enjoy a CommitStrip:

CommitStrip - Code Paranormal

Frameworks, applications and even highly-rated utilities can be terrible. They drain your battery, computation power, and even interrupts your everyday usage! Let me put it this way: If you’ve never installed the top rated battery app on Google Play just to find it claiming to save your power by monitoring other apps and draining your battery even quicklier than usual, nor have had experience of Java Updater nagging you every once in five seconds, you’re not really an Internet user. Generally, this is the path you should take in pursuit of a good utility:

△ Open Source — People contribute to it, developers who use this may actively contribute to the project, effectively keeping it working properly.

△ Active — If the last update was a year ago, consider picking another. A week is enough for a project to get famous. A month is an ancient on Internet time. Three months and people claim that you were part of a fatal car accident, will be forever remembered by your family and friends, and that the culprit is still at large. Mhm hmm.

△ Professional — Let me get this straight, most of the service providers out there claiming to give you “free” and “awesome” stuff “without surveys” are scams. If you really think someone is going to do you good without the intent to make the Internet a better place, you really shouldn’t use a computer.

I’m not surprised to have read Kids can’t use computers… and this is why it should worry you only to find that the author shares a similar perspective of mine… But more critical and in a freaking awesome way:

‘Oh… I guess these days you must find that the kids know more about computers than the teachers….’

If you teach IT or Computing, this is a phrase that you’ll have heard a million times, a billion times, epsilon zero times, aleph one times. Okay I exaggerate, but you’ll have heard it a lot. There are variants of the phrase, all espousing today’s children’s technical ability. My favourite is from parents: ‘Oh, Johnny will be a natural for A-Level Computing. He’s always on his computer at home.’ The parents seem to have some vague concept that spending hours each evening on Facebook and YouTube will impart, by some sort of cybernetic osmosis, a knowledge of PHP, HTML, JavaScript and Haskell.

Normally when someone spouts this rubbish I just nod and smile. This time I simply couldn’t let it pass. ‘Not really, most kids can’t use computers.’ (and neither can you – I didn’t add.)

She looked surprised by my rejection of what is generally considered a truism. After all, aren’t all teenagers digital natives? They have laptops and tablets and games consoles and smart phones, surely they must be the most technologically knowledgeable demographic on the planet. The bell went, and I really did have a lesson to teach, so I didn’t have time to explain to her my theories on why it is that kids can’t use computers. Maybe she’ll read my blog.

The truth is, kids can’t use general purpose computers, and neither can most of the adults I know. There’s a narrow range of individuals whom, at school, I consider technically savvy. These are roughly the thirty to fifty year-olds that have owned a computer for much of their adult lives. There are, of course, exceptions amongst the staff and students. There are always one or two kids in every cohort that have already picked up programming or web development or can strip a computer down to the bare bones, replace a motherboard, and reinstall an operating system. There are usually a couple of tech-savvy teachers outside the age range I’ve stated, often from the Maths and Science departments who are only ever defeated by their school laptops because they don’t have administrator privileges, but these individuals are rare.

I suppose before I go on I should really define what I believe ‘can’t use a computer’ means. Being a network manager as well as a teacher means I am often the first port of call when a teacher or student is having issues with computers and associated devices. As my lead technician likes to state, ‘the problem is usually the interface between the chair and the keyboard.’ […]

If you don’t know how computers work, you won’t understand what any of the above is supposed to convey. If you get the slightest of idea out of the excerpt, congratulations, I hold faith in you.

PS I’m also coding the website from scratch now – Screw Drupal. is a HTTP frame linking to my hosted web on Jack’s server, and I’m working on it all on its own, from-the-ground-up HTML, CSS, PHP…

Oh, hey, if this post makes you feel bad in any way, Don’t Take it Personal. 😉