Teen Programmers Unite  


Return to forum top

Web design

Posted by pramod [send private reply] at February 03, 2003, 01:20:30 PM

Well, there seems to be stuff saying that web design should be kept out of tpu. Why? I don' think tpu is suffering an overload from too many members, and pushing web desing people away is not a good idea.

Then Psion objects to somebody posting about free web servers - saying you're not allowed to talk about that! I remember a long thread about The Lord of the the Rings movie - THAT is allowed and talking about free webservers or HTML tags is not.

This is crazy. Web design isn't as easy as it seems. There's plenty of scripting involved for fancy stuff. And certainly jscript is about 300 times better than VB for learning programming.

It takes all kinds to make a community and I don't think just a lot of very good coders could achieve much. Morever while web desing may be simpler than say doing many other things, it does teach you quite a lot - in terms of planning and preparation.

I think there quite a few pre-conceived notions around - there was a comment implying that if you followed sports you're no good as a programmer! Then we have this web design thing, and of course the ubiquitous SML Overdrive [BTW Psion - that stuff about Mr. Average though very forceful [dogmatic?] had quite a few flaws in the logic, I'm still not convinced! :-)]

Please stop telling us what we should and what we shouldn't do [unless asked!] - and about web design - if you don't like [here I use like to mean "do not consider as productive programming"] web design don't reply to posts about it.

I think that it is important that people who make rules learn to distinguish between their opinions and the common good - on the basis of which rules ought to be made. What you THINK is the common good is not a reason to make a rule about it.

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 03, 2003, 03:33:02 PM

The problem is that there are way more people interested in web design than programming. TPU _will_ become primarily a web design site if we don't actively work to prevent that (and if enough people hear of its existence). There are plenty of sites already in existence like that. The main point is keeping this as a community for people who want to learn how to surmount the challenges associated with programming, not creating an image or laying out a web page. The more focused we are, the better an organization we can be. It's interesting that you mentioned scripting to justify the inclusion of web design. That _is_ programming, and the rules don't explicitly ask such issues to be taken elsewhere.

And a brief postscript: I think it is important for the people who complain about "rules" or presence/absence of features in general of a site run by people in their spare time to accompany any suggestions with offers to do the work required to implement them. If you don't like that, please present a plan for how you will do enough work to justify having that much say, as compared to yours truly, who has been doing all the grunt work for TPU for 5 years. Everyone pitching in a little bit would be another way to implement such a change, if they agreed on what they wanted. But, nothing comes for free, and less than 20 people (out of thousands of visitors) have ever volunteered to do anything to run TPU, spread over its 6+ year existence, so keep that in mind when you ask for things.

Posted by ItinitI [send private reply] at February 03, 2003, 03:39:45 PM

Ah, well one solution would be a web design forum, but as stated this would encourage and possibly overwhelm TPU with web designers.
Other than that, I would simply say all in the General forum is fair game, including web design.

Posted by CViper [send private reply] at February 03, 2003, 04:44:14 PM

psion, what do you consider under "volunteer to do anything to run TPU"? IMHO without all the people hanging around and helping people (well, sometimes anyway) TPU wouldn't be the same thing; I've usually got a fair answere to my questions, and hope that I have - in exchange - helped some other people. Isn't that some sort of contribution too?

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 03, 2003, 06:42:09 PM

CViper, yes, but you're not "on call" to fix anything that happens, you haven't paid any money to keep TPU running, you haven't organized obtaining hardware and setting it up and keeping it working on hosting you have arranged, and you haven't spent months of your life developing the software that runs this site and has run previous versions. :P

And the question in question was so extremely general that I would have hoped that the fellow who asked it would have found a FAQ somewhere, or posted on a site more on topic. Ideally we could, beyond having a programming FAQ here, include a link to a web design FAQ elsewhere on a page shown to all new members, and delete any messages asking questions found in either. We could also add other must-see links to subjects people commonly confuse with programming.

Posted by ItinitI [send private reply] at February 03, 2003, 09:22:27 PM

Well, if you do that, you need to put something like "Do NOT post web design related questions at TPU" where as it says something like you can post them, but you might not get helps.
But, I think it General could be web design related.

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 03, 2003, 09:38:53 PM

Again, the problem is that the form of the question was "introduce me to the basics of this area, which is mentioned by the new member message to be the focus of ANOTHER site, not this one."

Posted by gian [send private reply] at February 04, 2003, 11:57:05 PM

I feel it is important here to stress the fact that HTML is in no way programming!

If you disagree, google for it instead of flaming me.

As Psion so aptly put it, there are many, many sites out there which serve to teach beginners how to create web pages. They can and do do it 1000 times better than we ever could, simply because that is their primary interest.

The main focus of TPU (mostly because that is the focus of the more active members) is to improve in programming and to be able to discuss issues surrounding that.

To stray from this path would certainly mean losing the more experienced visitors to TPU that we receive on occasion, and gives us no hope of trying to retain these "exemplar" TPUers

Posted by pramod [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 01:00:43 AM


Well, maybe you're right about HTML and programming and whatever. I'd like to issue a general apology to everyone and Psion in particular for my muck-raising business. I do that all the time and I don't mean any offence to anybody. [And I still stand by what I said! :-)]

The only reason I come to tpu it seems to be a place where people'll answer all your questions. Honestly! There a few questions I put up in usenet and similar places and I'vent got a single reply weeks later and in tpu you get a decent reply in about a day.

I personally believe teen programmers - or more precisely youg hobbyist programmers are a major force to deal with. Teen Programmers Unite is a very good slogan - If all us got together, we could achieve quite a lot.

I think this is what tpu was set up for.

Psions says on his homepage that he runs tpu and will continue to do so until he finds people to take over. Well, when is he going to decide that the people to take over have arrived. I think lightning bolts and midnight dreams can be safely ruled out, but is there some kind of a secret evaluation system or a an anointed successor? Also, is there a mechanism on tpu for members to contribute to the development of the webpage itself - not links and articles and stuff like that.

I think it'd be helpful if we found out how tpu is run and basically who does what where.

Do you want people doing things with these things?

If you do:-

I think, while a super smart system for generating webpages dynamically in a language thats going to take over the word is really great - [no sarcasm intended] - maybe it'll help if other lesser mortals were allowed to do things in langauges they are "irrationally attached to".

I think you'll understand each of us have their own limitations - the society we live in, the things we do [study, work etc], and more general things like the state our country's economy is in, will influence how much we can do for tpu. But I still think all of us CAN do quite a LOT for tpu.

If we want people taking more active part in tpu, we'll need to have system where all members are equal and take part equally in the development of the site. Maybe you could have something like a trial page where people put their things up and then if the things get good votes, they're moved to the main page. My point is it should be easy to develop a new part to the web site.

Posted by gian [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 01:38:32 AM

"Well, when is he going to decide that the people to take over"

Well, in line with my new rebel stance, I feel inclined to state Psion's opinion of the human race in general, which is something along the lines of "STUPID".

I don't believe that any real desire to hand TPU off to others actually exists. If it did, it would have happened a long time ago.

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 08:37:54 AM

How TPU is run
(A bedtime story)

I design and implement everything foundational, arrange everything financial, and basically ping everyone else who must be pinged, continuously, since otherwise everyone would forget about everything. This includes designing a system like this (and the new one even moreso) specifically to make it easy for everyone to contribute to the raw meat of the web site and other technical/practical aspects.

To repeat: the ability for multiple people to develop this and other completely separate web sites easily is THE defining characteristic of this system. We even have a semi-secret, authorization-required area set up on this site for people to experiment with what they can create with it. I think Rdd is the only one without admin privs anyway who has actually tried to create anything there. I don't remember if he finished his mentoring setup or not. I wouldn't get too worked up about not having access to this. We grant it pretty freely, but this system shouldn't be in use for much longer, so there's not much point.

At the moment three others besides me have admin privs on the web site directly: gian, buzgub, and taubz. I don't think any of them have really done anything with the site recently. (I haven't done terribly much myself, though I've spent a lot of time working on the new system.) This isn't really too much of a problem, since obsession with the outer trappings of a web site can only lead to distraction from the goals of the _organization_ in the end.

pramod says "we'll need to have system where all members are equal and take part equally in the development of the site." That is exactly what I've been advocating for a loooong time, and, like I said, no one really comes through and does anything. I don't think it's safe to turn over to a sort of "wiki model" overnight, with all the emotional capital I have invested in TPU as an entity. I would need to see that the new way really works first, and that starts with one person at a time actually contributing somehow.

About "Well, when is he going to decide that the people to take over": I'd like to have a completely flat community model. With or without that, I think there _must_ be some knowledgeable enough people clearly visible for things to work out. Otherwise, you end up with a dark age, and there is no one to impart the necessary wisdom to newbies. Also, as to the other people who have served as admins already: all admit to being notorious for not finishing projects they undertake. If we follow the simple "here are the admins; they run the site" model, does it make sense to have people with that trait as the sole maintainers? [Side Note: Remember that I handed over all of TPU (including the domain name!) to Gaz at one point, because he demonstrated that he really was motivated to handle the mundane technical side of things. (He created his own web site management system from scratch, set up hosting for it, etc..)]

As to the particular case of pramod's volunteering to do something: Aren't you close to leaving or already out of the "teen" category? We older folk should soon start a non-age specific hobbyist programmer group, and then you can work on that. I think having TPU grouped with that site, sharing code and such but keeping the distinct name and community, would work out quite well. Anyone who's visited the alpha site has probably seen my current conception of having a big fat article full of advice as a centerpiece of TPU. I'd like to have a "newbies section" of the non-age specific site with a general document getting people up to speed on what a new programmer should know and suggesting ways to start learning coding. We would also have a young-people-specific guide on the TPU site, explaining things like what programming related careers there are and how to prepare for them, explanations of educational options, maybe advice on starting a programming club at your school, etc..

So the basic idea would be to have original resources that don't just duplicate "tutorials" found everywhere (written just for the sake of putting something already written by someone else on a web site with your name on it), but rather help people find good existing resource. Then add a dash of community communication tools, and you're set!

Feel free to reply to the somewhat unrelated first and second parts of this message separately, to maintain proper animosity towards me for the first part. ;-)

Posted by taubz [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 09:30:16 AM

"We older folk should soon start a non-age specific hobbyist programmer group"

Didn't I say that like 3 years ago?

- taubz

Posted by DragonWolf [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 10:24:53 AM

APU - Adult Programmers Unite?
YAPU - Young Adult Programmers Unite
xTPU - eX-Teen Programmers Unite


Experts-Exchange is non-age specific

Posted by ItinitI [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 11:14:17 AM

UPL - United Programmer's League
MPU - Mature Programmers Unite
IPU - Immature Programmers Unite
ICUP - Intoxicated Conconcted United Programmers.

Posted by ItinitI [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 11:14:58 AM


Posted by pramod [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 12:16:47 PM

I'd like to know what the average age is of tpu members.

Personally I began programming and computers around about 12, but I got a PC only a year later and you can say thats when I started programming. I didn't have proper access to the net [ie a connection at home] until about 2 years back. Until 6 months I used to run an AMD K5 PR 133.

I think my case is bit different from almost all other people, I think I'm among the few members from a 'developing' countries.

But I still think to do serious programming you need to have a fair knowledge of mathematics. Like trigonmetry to rotate an image for example. So my personal opinion is that you start programming seriously only around the middle of your teens [15-17]. And the time to get to place where can atleast theorotically write everything is a year or two more.

What I'm trying to say is - maybe, just maybe - that "teen programmers" are more 15-21 than 13-19.

Is this just an irrational desire to hang on to something I love?

Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 12:42:04 PM

I don't think an adult version of this site would work.

Not insulting anyone, but just pointing out, the majority of us do more work than most other people of our age, so that links us together (ie, heres the place we find people who are similar to ourselves). I think generally adults would find it easier to find people with similar interests, so a non-age specific site wouldn't work).

However, I think that pramod is right. This site is definately more aimed at 15-21 year olds than 13-19 year olds. Maybe it might be handy to include that in the welcome note to newbies.

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 06, 2003, 05:07:43 PM

taubz, yes, you did, and you weren't the first. Since we don't seem to be doing it yet, more mentions can't hurt. =)

Name listers, we don't need to be constrained in any way in choosing the name, so we don't have to try to make a new name fit "TPU" like we have tried in the past. =)

Reply to comment about Experts Exchange: I forgot to mention that the central idea of the new group as I conceive it would be _hobbyist_ programming, just as I've tried to emphasize with TPU. I have yet to find any group besides TPU that explicitly states this as its main tenet. This doesn't exclude "professional" topics; it just makes them as off-topic as what your favorite cartoon show is. Also, while a bunch of you new visitors view TPU as primariy a "question and answer board," I view it as a community, with people working together on creating things as a major part. An area where people ask techinical questions is relatively new on the TPU scene. Yet another distinction from Experts Exchange, at least in theory/looking to the future....

rdd: I think just the fact that we have people like pramod (and me!) who want to be involved with the same sort of spirit speaks for the utility of creating a non-age centered group. If nothing else, it's just "us not looking silly any more because we are too old." In particular, there are legions of graduate students who love tinkering who would feel right at home in such a group.

And we would like to provide a good environment for anyone from age 5 up! I hope the newbie guides I proposed above could help make this practical. Maybe a guide for parents who want to help their children learn programming, too....

Posted by buzgub [send private reply] at February 07, 2003, 12:06:07 AM

Someone asked how people get to work on the site. The way I started was that I made a few suggestions, Psion sent me an email asking if I'd like to take a shot at implementing them, and then a few days later I had enough priveleges to do the work. So, if you want to work on anything, make suggestions! These days it would also make sense for you to use the semi-secret area to try to implement them.

The risk with a wiki model is that those who decide they don't like the site and run off in a huff (almost always returning a week later) and do something stupid like editing every single one of their messages so that they're empty would, instead of that, erase half the pages on the site. Admittedly, most of the stuff could be restored from backups but it could still lead to data being lost.

Posted by gian [send private reply] at February 07, 2003, 01:00:09 AM

I think that the semi-secret area has shown that most people do not have the self control to preserve the integrity of other people's messages, considering the fact that not a single one of my messages has remained unedited for more than 24 hours.

Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at February 07, 2003, 10:44:45 AM

Isn't that the whole point of the general Members Lounge Message board. Anything serious can be discussed in peoples individual categories.

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 07, 2003, 11:09:18 AM

I don't expect any analogue of that in the new site. Rather, I'd like to give people their own sections/hosting/whatever if they make some show of a serious interest in being involved with the community.

Posted by regretfuldaydreamer [send private reply] at February 07, 2003, 11:10:13 AM

Sounds good enough to me.

Posted by CDR700 [send private reply] at February 07, 2003, 11:15:57 AM

Programming is about algorithms. Someone has to point that out, realisation of algorithms ( i.e. their programming ) is 1/100 of the happiness from actually modifiying/creating algorithms. Thats a minimalistic mathematical point of view.

Posted by Psion [send private reply] at February 07, 2003, 01:15:38 PM

I'm not quite sure why you posted that. Are you suggesting that a new group be named/described in a way that doesn't suggest that it's just about the act of programming?

You must be logged in to post messages and see which you have already read.

Log on
Save for later automatic logon

Register as a new user
Copyright TPU 2002. See the Credits and About TPU for more information.