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Coding Potpourri at AALL

Jul - 29 - 2011
Nicole C. Engard

This week I was on a panel at AALL (my first time at this conference) that discussed coding in libraries. There were four of us and four languages to discuss. I started with MySQL (and an introduction as the Koha Goddess who helped bring Koha to law libraries). I showed some of the MySQL tables in Koha and explained how they were created and how to query data out of them. My slides can be found on Slideshare.

More important to me is what I learned from my colleagues. First I learned about Python from Ted Lawless. I have never used Python but it was very simple to figure out what was going on on the screen based on my experience with other languages. Ted showed us how he used Python to get around the limitations of reporting in his proprietary ILS (pointing out that my talk was a good segway to this since I was showing how easy it was get data out of an open source system). Ted has shared his slides and his code examples on his site.

Next was Jason Eisman talking about HTML5. HTML has come a long way! Jason had be excited to hand code a webpage again … well maybe not an entire webpage, but certain parts. One of the things that stuck with me was the fact that HTML5 can validate forms without Jacascript! You can create a field type of email and HTML5 will make sure it’s a valid email address. Jason shared his slides on Slideshare.

Up last was Tom Boone introducing us to CSS. When I learned HTML we did all the formatting using HTML, there was no CSS, and for a person who talks about changing being necessary … this is one area that I am still being stubborn about. I have tried and tried to understand CSS and how it can be used to format pages, but I just can’t wrap my head around it. Tom’s talk did a great job of at least explaining to be the difference between classes and IDs (both in CSS and how they look embedded in the HTML). I’m going to come back to Tom’s slides and see if I can gleam a bit more about CSS to help me down the road.

Overall a great panel and a lot of fun to share and learn with fellow library programmers.

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