Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Start of the Second Year

Despite having quite a long summer break it seemed that it has gone by in a flash, and on the first day back at college as a second year student everything felt very familiar. It was certainly a lot more comfortable than the introductions at the beginning of the first year.

For the final two assignments of the first year: A1 Sketchblog and A7 Rasterized, I was pleased to find that I had improved on my grades compared to previous
assignments. I was hoping this was the case as am feeling much more confident with the digital imaging software and graphic design elements of the course. I am also pleased with my sketching and visualising skills as they appear to be a basic requirement for all-round web designers, which is what I aspire to become.

As for the summer break, I'm quite pleased with myself for having managed to find the self-discipline to create a website for my partner's 'Personal home page' which is now in her work-based ftp site. I feel a lot more confident about using XHTML and CSS for web design, although I realise these are just the basic elements and elements of other coding languages such as Javascript and PHP will also be required for professional looking websites.

Bearing this in mind I have also looked at PHP and tried out some script, setting up an Apache local web server in order to test out web pages with PHP. I think that I am now at least familiar with PHP although still see myself as a beginner. I now have an appreciation of the way PHP works as a 'server side' code whilst HTML works in a web browser. For the A9 assignment I intend to use the open source XAMPP package as it includes the MySQL database.

We certainly hit the ground running on the first day back, launching straight into the first assignment of the second year. This is the A8 iMe Assignment, the first component is the Self Managed Learning Plan (SMLP) which involves choosing a course-related subject (PHP and MySQL in my case), and devising our own project through a creative brief.

This all seemed quite daunting to me at first but I have been looking into PHP during the summer months and have (hopefully) a fairly good idea of what I would like to achieve and what is realistic for me given the limited timescale and my limited PHP knowledge.

For the SMLP I intend to create an online thumbnail gallery for a friend who is researching monuments in Cumbria and North Lancashire for a book he hopes to have published, and has supplied me with a collection of photographs for an accompanying website which will form the basis of the creative brief.

I'm quite excited about the project as it's a 'live' project and quite similar to the work I hope to be doing on a self employed basis. It is also quite an interesting project in itself.
I'm also quite anxious about getting it all working correctly within the timescale...

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