Sunday, February 19, 2012

Individual Tutorials & Reflection - Application Choice

Decisions, decisions...

Okay, I've decided. Actually, the choice wasn't too difficult.  I would like to learn PHP for this assignment.  I really enjoyed learning about PHP for the Technology Research Assignment, but more importantly there is a good chance I will be working on a project that will involve PHP right here at ODU with Jay Morris from the Computer Science Department. The purpose of the project is to assist indigenous peoples with the reconstruction of native languages.

One of my major research interests in linguistics is endangered language preservation. After getting my Master's in Applied Linguistics, I volunteered for two years as a linguistic consultant for a local tribe in their efforts to revitalize their language.  Jay is Cherokee, so he has a personal interest in native languages as well.  He has been trying to get this project off the ground since I met him a couple of years ago, and it seems like he is getting very close to doing exactly that!  Jay has invited me to be part of the project, and I am really excited about the opportunity.  My role in the project would be to provide assistance with research and gathering resources as well as helping with the comparison and analysis of related languages so that Jay could then assign values of similarities to sounds and words in the database.  In other words, I won't be directly involved with coding the user interface or setting up the database, but I think it would be useful for me to know a little bit about the programming language that will be used for the project.

Because I don't know much about HTML, and PHP is an HTML-embedding scripting language, I will try to find a tutorial that introduces concepts in HTML that will be helpful for PHP. I would really like to have at least a basic understanding of HTML before delving into PHP.

One of my concerns with my learning PHP pertains to access.  When researching PHP, it seemed like there was a relatively complex installation process.  I'm a little concerned because my personal laptop is on it's last leg, my office laptop is shared among faculty, and my office desktop needs all kinds of administrative passwords to download and install things, so I would have to get OCCS involved. I know I can download PHP with no problem, my concern would be accessing a server.  I wonder if any of the university computers have Apache... Alternatively, if I run into problems, maybe the computers in the computer science labs that have PHP already installed, and Jay could hook me up with a computer science log-in.

Anyway, I'm looking forwarding to exploring PHP further.  It seems like an extremely versatile programming language.  I just need to hone in on particular task project that I would like to attempt using the language.

1 comment:

  1. Taking on the PHP elephant! You are a brave woman, but I think you'll make it. The graphic reminds me of a quote a friend shared with me when I was feeling overwhelmed: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

    First, the project at ODU with preserving language is amazing, and I wish you both tremendous success. It is a rather noble thing to do. It occurs to me that once you learn the process, you could apply it to other languages ad well. For example, in SC there is a language called "Gullah" that developed in what's called the "low-country" - the coastal region down by Charleston. It is a blend of African languages and English. I think it would be a great candidate for this same kind of work. Maybe in the future you could help other researchers of these other endangered languages apply the same technology. That kind of consultation work would be a great way to share your knowledge. I wish you luck as you push forward - one bite at a time - and I'm sure you will develop a great idea for this application!