Archives / 2004 / June
  • What Is DevCampus?

    When I talk with people about my DevCampus project, the question I get the most is undoubtedly, “So, what is it?”. Without further ado...

    About DevCampus

    When the site goes live on the web, I will have an FAQ page and a Site Features page in addition to an About page with the content behind that link. Feel free to leave feedback though if something about the concept of the site still doesn't make sense to you. I'd like to know whether what I've written so far conveys the message well or not.


  • About DevCampus

    About DevCampus

    DevCampus is an all-inclusive online community of software developers, systems engineers, graphic artists, database administrators, technical writers, and other industry experts that have joined together to provide a comprehensive source of reliable technical information to the masses through the Internet. We believe that through our experience and collective expertise we can bring visitors to our site with high-quality, thorough, and in-depth information that is easy to learn from. Furthermore, we strive to help our visitors learn best practices and, when possible, learn from our mistakes, instead of their own.


    The 3 Principles

    In order for DevCampus community to be a success, three things are essential.


    Commitment to Excellence

    First and foremost is the open-minded nature of the DevCampus community. Almost all of the information provided here is versioned. This is because we believe that nobody is omnipotent and everyone needs an outlet to correct or change what they’ve said or written in the past. After content has been posted, changes in the technology can occur or an astute reader might find a mistake. The authors and editors at DevCampus are committed to providing high-quality information and take responsibility for ensuring the accuracy of the content. They also know that there could be a better or more elegant solution than the one they provided. So, after content has been updated or otherwise changed, the minor or major version is incremented and a change log is kept. This is our way of allowing the community to serve their peers through knowledge sharing.


    Comprehensive Information, One Location

    The sea of technical information in today’s world is not easy to navigate. The best information is scattered amongst books, magazines, instructional videos, the internet, newsgroups, conferences and many other sources. At DevCampus, our intent is to behave like an aggregate of the best resources and provide that information in easy to follow courses. These courses aim to convey to the reader everything they need to know to go from beginner to expert in the course subject, leaving no aspect of the technology uncovered. If you don’t see a topic covered on DevCampus, let us know about it and we’ll begin the process of adding it to the list of courses. Our goal in the content we provide is to leave no gaps in the knowledge of those coming to us for information.



    For the community, by the community

    At DevCampus, we know that no matter how great our efforts may be, your participation is a huge factor in the prosperity of the community. For that reason, we’ve provided channels for the community to directly contact DevCampus authors and editors about their work, as well as forums in an effort to facilitate discussion about the content on the site. We’ve also taken measures to ensure that contributing to DevCampus is as easy as possible through our editorial process. Additionally, we have set up syndication feeds and publish email newsletters that enable community members to receive notification of new information that could be of interest to them.


    An Iterative Process

    Much like a software product, DevCampus is constantly being refined as we work on new features for the community. From another perspective, DevCampus might be thought of as an open source, technology reference. In the midst of this evolution, I hope that DevCampus can be a steadfast asset for technology enthusiasts around the world.





    Jason Mauss

    Founder of DevCampus


  • Invention is not an only child

    It has been said that “Necessity is the mother of invention.”

    If that's true then I think invention has some siblings. Namely determination, enthusiasm, and fear. Actually, I imagine it's quite a large family, but I'm just going to talk about those three.

    Since DevCampus contributers have still been few and far between, I've resigned myself to thinking that I am going to be doing quite a bit of writing in order to meet my personal goal of having 50 articles posted when DevCampus goes live on the web. Definitely not an unattainable goal, but definitely not easy for someone with my writing experience. You see, it's not the technical knowledge or technical experience I lack. It's the writing knowledge and writing experience. Sure, I've written dozens of technical articles for a few different magazines and websites. However, with the DevCampus content I feel that my own name and reputation are on the line and will be out for the Internet to examine. And in most cases, I'd have no problem with that. I'm a real life hermit and an Internet socialite.

    As I began working on a few articles, something just wasn't right. I had enough content to write about and I was making progress. It definitely wasn't writer's block. It was something about the flow or organization of the articles that bothered me. Likewise, I didn't like the wording of many of the sentences I had written. I went to bed and slept on it, letting the thoughts weigh on my mind.

    The conclusion I came to was that as a writer, technical or otherwise, my own personal standards of what I consider good writing have changed. I'm no longer happy with what I usually write. It doesn't cut the mustard for me anymore. I feel it is necessary that I write better. My thoughts need to be conveyed more clearly in what I write. I need to consider different approaches to saying the same thing and choosing the best fit. In many ways, I feel this is analogous to the stages I've gone through in my coding career. As time passes and I gain experience, I'm no longer happy with the designs I came up with or the code I wrote. In the end, I think this is a good thing. I hope it is a sign of some growth and maturity in me as a writer.

    So, in keeping with that I said before; In the past week, my determination to be a better writer has grown much stronger, and I'm committed to doing a better job. My enthusiasm for writing has also risen to new levels, which I'm thankful for. On the other side of the fence, my fear of failure has increased beyond the amount I normally feel. I attribute the majority of this fear to sticking my neck out there with DevCampus. I do find some comfort in thinking, “time will tell”. It's too bad foresight isn't 20/20.

    This had led me to want to ask other writers, have any of you gone through something similar to this? As Queen asked, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?”

    I thought I'd share some links with those of you reading this that might feel like learning a little more about writing. (Feel free to post your own favorite writing links to in my comments section)
    Mike Gunderloy's Advice For Writers Series
    Melanie Spiller's Blog (via Mike G)
    The Elements of Style - William Strunk Jr.


  • AOL: So Slow

    My wife and I went to see the movie “The Stepford Wives” tonight since I decided to let her choose which movie we'd see. It definitely fell into the “chick flick“ category in my mind, but there was this one moment that made me glad I had sat through it.

    During one scene, in which the Stepford husbands reveal that they are all former employees at major technology companies, the camera pans around the room as you hear, “Microsoft...NASA...Disney...AOL...”

    just then Nicole Kidman's character interrupts to ask, “AOL? Is that why these women are so slow?”

    I thought to myself, “Now there's a joke you just couldn't come up with without experiencing AOL.”

    Kudos to whoever put that into the script.


  • Offering a GMail invite for DevCampus editors

    Since participation for DevCampus has still been pretty light so far, I'm offering a GMail invite to anyone willing to help me write content for DevCampus. Scott Reynolds is also helping me out and offering a GMail account for the same purpose. So, if you'd like to sign up to write lesson material for DevCampus, please let me know. By “sign up” I mean I will add your name to a list of people and then you can choose from the list of courses what you would like to write about. By the end of the week I plan to update the list of courses to include the names of those who are going to be writing content for those courses.

    The GMail accounts are offered pretty much on a first come first serve basis - for people that are serious about being willing to help. I don't in any way want to sound mean or harsh here but, please don't offer to help for a GMail account and then flake out on me. As they say on Ebay, “serious bidders only please”.

    Having said that, I'm looking foward to working with anyone that wants to help shape the way we learn software development. If you would like to learn more about DevCampus before signing up to help (which I would fully understand - and almost kinda expect) please feel free to contact me - (jason dot mauss at gmail dot com) or check out the DevCampus related entries on my blog. Thank you.


  • One punctuation mark is enough!

    This is just a quick rant so that I can vent some frustration. Why do people feel it is necessary to put more than one question mark or exclamation point after a question or comment?

    Seriously, why?

    I keep getting emails and attachments that have stuff like "I did this a while ago and now it's different???? Why isn't it like it used to be??? Shouldn't it be doing x, y, and z??!?!?!?!!?!???!?!?" good grief people, I get it already, you're asking a question.

    Should I start responding like this: "It because we spec changed,,,,,,,,,, and said to do it a different way............... If you would read the spec then you would know that already!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" ?

    I swear, it's driving me nucking futs. If you're doing this, please, for the love, stop it.


  • Thank you Marcie...

    To my total shock and amazement, Marcie awarded me one of the GMail invites she had put up for pseudo-auction.

    All I can really think to say, is thank you. Actually, wait, no, I can think of more to say than that...

    When I saw Marcie's GMail blog contest,
    I sent in my entry hoping for the best

    I emailed her with some inspired rhymes,
    hoping this would be one of those lucky times

    Then just last night as I was catching some rest,
    I dreamed that I had won the contest

    Then later awoke to check my email
    to find an invite from Marcie to GMail!

    Now before I lose any more of those reading,
    I'll end this nonsense and finish my greeting

    Thanks again Marcie, I look forward to GSpamming you with more silly/goofy/dorky poems. Look what you've started!! bwahahahah! No really, I'm perfectly sane...don't worry, no restraining order is necessary.


  • DevCampus is looking for "Editor Experts"

    I've come to the point now, with DevCampus, that I am looking to seek out those that are experts in certain niche areas of technology that would like to contribute content for courses. A long list of courses (grouped by department) can be found below. I will be updating the list below as I add more courses. Also feel free to suggest courses for any departments, especially those that don't yet have any courses for them.

    Note: I currently have 4 GMail invitations that I am willing to send to people that want to contribute.

    You might be wondering what I mean by “Editor Experts“. The kind of people I am looking for are those that not only enjoy technology (of course) but, those that also enjoy writing and educating others in their areas of expertise. Those that keep blogs, write articles, books, or have websites of their own, speak at user groups and/or conferences, etc. I also want to say, emphatically, that since DevCampus is community-based, this is open to everyone, including you. I don't want anyone to feel like they shouldn't contribute or aren't qualified to contribute. Your experience is no less valuble than anyone elses. Part of the goal of DevCampus is to provide a refined, aggregated collection of expertise gained through hands-on experience. So regardless of what it is you have experience in, and regardless of how much experience it is, you're welcome to contribute. Also keep in mind that for each course, there will be different levels of lessons (starting with “Essentials“ lessons, then Intermediate, Applied/Advanced, and Theory) I'm looking for XML Essentials just as much as I'm looking for Advanced SOAP Web Services material.

    Also bear in mind that that I want the content published at DevCampus to be thorough. Each lesson will also get versioned and be open to revision. For example, see the Database Naming Conventions lesson example I posted here. As I build the site, I am designing it so that revision history information can be kept by those that edit content.

    Here is a current list (updated regularly) of courses, grouped by department. If you happen to have experience in one of the topics related to a course below and find it to be in the wrong department, please let me know. For example, is Python really a programming language or a Scripting Language? I'm not entirely sure as I've never really worked with it. I'm depending on those that have to set me straight. If you would like to download the Excel spreadsheet version of this list, it can be found here.

    Department Course Name Locator Code Editors
    Programming Languages
    Visual Basic.NET VBN
    Visual C#.NET VCN Pedro Silva, Scott Reynolds
    Visual J#.NET VJN
    Visual Basic 6 VB6
    Visual C++.NET VCP
    Java JVA
    C++ CPP
    C CPL
    Perl PRL
    Delphi DPH
    Ruby RBY
    Lisp LSP
    Internet Development
    Classic ASP CAS Jason Mauss
    ASP.NET ASN Scott Reynolds
    HTML HTM Jason Mauss
    DHTML DTM Scott Reynolds
    CSS CSS Jason Mauss
    Apache APC
    Web Services WBS
    Extensible Stylesheet Language XSL
    Database Technologies
    SQL SQL Jason Mauss, Scott Reynolds
    SQL Server MSQ Jason Mauss
    Access ACC
    Berkeley DB BDB
    FoxPro FPO
    Oracle ORA
    PostgreSQL PSL
    Development Methodologies
    Agile Development ADV
    Test Driven Development TDD
    Aspect Oriented Development AOD
    Object Oriented Development OOD Jason Mauss
    Extreme Programming EXP
    Refactoring RFG
    Open Source Development OSD
    Unified Modeling Language UML
    Rational Unified Process RUP
    Scripting Languages / Technologies
    JavaScript JVS Scott Reynolds
    Visual Basic Script VBS Jason Mauss
    Windows Scripting Host WSH
    Windows Management Instrumentation WMI
    JScript JSC
    Tcl/Tk TCL
    Python PTN
    Computer Graphics
    DirectX DRX
    OpenGL OGL
    Photoshop PHS
    Fireworks FWS
    Paint Shop Pro PSP
    Gimp GMP
    Source Code Management Systems
    SourceGear Vault SGV
    Visual Source Safe VSS Jason Mauss
    Concurrent Versions System CVS
    Subversion SVC
    Source Code Control System SCS
    Revision Control System RCS
    Software Project Management
    Gathering Requirements REQ
    Systems Engineering
    Industry Certifications
    Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer CSE
    Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer CSD Jason Mauss
    Microsoft Certified Application Developer CAD Jason Mauss
    Microsoft Certified Database Administrator DBA
    Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator CSA
    Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician DST
    Microsoft Certified Trainer MCT
    Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert CIE
    Cisco Certified Design Professional CDP
    Cisco Certified Network Professional CNP
    Cisco Certified Internetwork Professional CIP
    Cisco Certified Security Professional CSP
    Cisco Certified Design Associate CDN
    Cisco Certified Network Associate CNA
    A+ APL
    Network+ NPL
    Microsoft Certified Professional MCP
    System Security Certified Practitioner SCP
    Certified Information Systems Security Professional SSP
    Sun Certified Java Programmer CJP
    Sun Certified Java Developer CJD
    Sun Certified Web Component Developer WCD
    Sun Certified Business Component Developer BCD
    Sun Certified Mobile Application Developer MAD
    Sun Certified Enterprise Architect CEA
    Certified Novell Administrator CNM
    Certified Novell Engineer CNE
    Novell Certified Linux Engineer CLE
    Certified Novell Instructor CNI
    Novell Certified Directory Engineer CDE
    Master CNE MCE
    Project Management Professional PMP
    Certified Associate in Project Management CPM
    Oracle Certified Professional OCP
    Software Development Platforms
    Java JAV
    Microsoft.NET DNT Jason Mauss, Pedro Silva
    Win32 W32
    Linux NIX
    Unix UIX
    User Interface Design
    General GUI Jason Mauss
    Thinking Outside the Cubicle
    This week in 1's and 0's OAZ Jason Mauss
    Community News CNW Jason Mauss
    Database Security DBS
    Internet Security ISS
    Network Security NWS
    Application Security APS
    General Security GNS