Just so that everyone doesn’t think that I only post about World of Warcraft, I thought I would post a quick update on what IT projects I am currently working on.  I have worked in IT for about 5 years now and recently my role has evolved from basic IT Support to Application Development and Support.  To facilitate this I have had to undergo a massive crash course in Windows web and application programming using ASP.NET in C#.  I completed a course in C at Uni and while it was ok and I did ok in it, I didn’t pursue it further and didn’t even open the text book for the course again until recently.  I am thankful that I did this course though because while I got little real knowledge in C programming out of it, it has taught me a lot about programming concepts in general.

The reason I went into that is because when I started learning C#, I magically discovered that so many of the base concepts were exactly the same.  The syntax was pretty different but I forgot about it all anyway so I didn’t start doing stuff wrong straight away.  Plus, Visual Studio 2010 is pretty good at helping you out.  I have been cramming as much C# in as I can so that I can complete the tasks my employer has asked but what has made it even more difficult is that I also need to know ASP.NET.  For anyone who doesn’t know the history, ASP started as a scripting language similar to PHP.  When Microsoft released .NET, they released a new version of it called ASP.NET.  It is no longer a scripting language but a markup language in many ways similar to something like HTML.  But the background code to make things run correctly with data is either C# or Visual Basic.

So I spent $155 on some Windows programming books including a Pro’s version for C# and ASP.NET in C#.  These are working out really well but I need a proper development environment.  Visual Studio comes with a built in web server for testing, but I need a proper setup so I am currently installing Windows Server 2008 R2 into a Virtual Box VM, updating it, installing IIS (Microsoft’s web server), MSSQL for a database and some other bits and pieces.  I love doing this kind of stuff.  I thought I originally wanted to be a Sysadmin who are the guys who configure and fix the servers almost every person on earth uses every day, but I think web development and programming is more for me.

Once I’m done, I can copy the Virtual Machine to another PC so I can have the same environment both at work and at home which will also be quite useful.  I also want to work on some other ideas for an ASP.NET website but am not sure what to do at this stage.  A few years ago I was a member of an online club called the Last Starfighter League (LSF) and then later, the Emperor’s Hammer (EH).  They were a Star Wars based club that caters for Star Wars (Duh!) games such as X-Wing vs TIE Fighter and the Jedi Knight series games.  The EH has slowly died over the years mainly due to the fact that no one has released newer versions of these games in over 10 years.  There is Star Wars: The Old Republic, but an MMO is different to what clubs like the EH and LSF used to use.

I loved being in these clubs.  They had a full military style hierarchy, medal and rank structures, etc.  In the old days of the LSF, these websites were manually altered with HTML tables.  EW!  The EH used ASP (The older scripting variant) to dynamically alter the contents of a page based on the contents of a database.  While I don’t think an EH style club can survive without new gaming blood, I loved the idea for the background coding and database and have contemplated replicating the features.  I don’t know if it would ever see release, but it is a good way to progress my knowledge of ASP.NET and C# in a meaningful way that might also yield some more fun times, or at the very least relive old glories.