NEW 10/27/2001: I am writing an introductory course on programming with PHP and mySQL. This course draws from my work in system design and architecture. It contains a compact introduction to PHP programming, and a tool chest I use to streamline the programming processes. The PHP/mySQL combination is a robust, low cost platform and is ideal for small web sites like this.
Computer Programmers face many of the same challenges as descriptive mathematicians. To create a successful program, they must first develop a detailed and accurate understanding of the program they want to create. Programmers not only need to be able to write code, they must be able to communicate this information to other programmers, companies and end users.
I believe that the descriptive nature of this art goes deeper than the simple need for good documentation. A well working program is itself a form of communication. Almost every successful program I have written has involved communicating information from one human being to another.
Clearly, the main use of the Internet is communication. As I look at all the different computer programs humming away in corporate America, it appears that overwhelming desire of all this electronic activity is the exploration and communication of ideas.
The concepts from descriptive mathematics are appropriate in the information community. As a professional computer programmer, I thought I would extend the metaphor of descriptive mathematics to the computer programming. Following is a collection of essays on the use of description in computer design and system engineering.
Programmers tend to use metaphors from construction and engineering to describe their work. As I watch the evolution of the computer industry, I think that, perhaps, organic metaphors may provide a deeper understanding of the art.
There is a natural affinity between hypertext documents and relational databases. HTML is an ideal format for displaying relational data.
A tutorial on SQL, and information on choosing a database for your personal use and studying.
Object oriented programming is the strongest tool for designing computer processes. Relational technology is the best tool for storing and analyzing large quantities of data. The question arises as to how the leverage the strength of both worlds.
This site includes the design documents for DescMath.com.
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