Am back after bit of break. Had to complete the 4 months hurdles race.
I am talking about my final semester academic project. I call it hurdles race. we had to jump all those hurdles to complete our project. Luckily (myself and two other friends Prakash and Janani ) we got a project at a high profile company in Bangalore. Only thing was we got the project without any problem. We got the project confirmation letter in December 2005 from the company. There was a list of prerequisites to do the project. One of the first and foremost was the bona fide certificate from our college. Second was the police clearance letter from the local police station.Other things were less important.
I will list the hurdle one by one in order.
Hurdle #1: We had to convince our college principal that we got a project in that company and get the bona fide certificate.
We went to college to get the above mentioned thing. It took us more than 5 hours to get the bona fide which would have taken not more than 15 minutes otherwise. We had to write a letter to the principal asking him to provide us with a bona fide certificate. The principal didn't believe us even after showing him the project confirmation letter from the company and asked many questions.He read our requisition letter word by word. He asked us to change our letter four times before he signed it and asked his office to prepare the bona fide certificate.
Hurdle #2: Getting the police clearance certificate.
The next worst thing was getting the police clearance certificate. It took me two days to get it. I went to the local police station along with my father to get the letter. Unfortunately the inspector of the crime department was on leave. So, we went to meet the inspector of the law and order. He wasn't in his office. The constable asked us to come after some time. Even then he was not in his office. My uncle asked us to come to the commissioner's office so that he can get us the letter through a person he knew. We had to wait for a long time in his office. The person was busy with his schedule that he wasn't in his office till afternoon. He phoned his assistant and asked him to help us. But when we went to the respective department, they told us that due to recent changes in jurisdiction they cannot give us the letter. They asked us to go to the Joint commissioner's office of our jurisdication. We phoned the person whom my uncle asked us to meet in the commissioner's office and told him the situation. He gave us a contact at the joint commissioner's office.
We started off from commissioner's office to joint commissioner's office. We met the person there and explained the things that happened and requested for a police clearance certificate. The person told us that the records were in the commissioner's office and not with them and asked us to get a affidavit from the commissioner's office. It was 5 o'clock in the evening and we had to wait till next morning. Since I had to prepare for my exam, my father went to the commissioner's office to get the letter. He had to shuttle between commissioner's office four times the same day to regarding the letter.
Atlast we got the letter the day after a police officer came to my house for confirmation and checked for certain formalities like identity etc.
Hurdle #3: Clearing the security at the company
We went to the company to submit our police clearance certificate and bona fides. Unfortunately myself and Janani couldn't clear the security due to some problem with police clearance certificate. We weren't allowed inside. We informed the person we had to meet about the problem on hand. He said that he will meet us in the reception give the project details.
Hurdle #4: Designing the database schema for our project.
One of the first difficult thing we encountered in the design of our project. The designing the database was a tough job due to our inexperience with it. It was a pretty big one for our time frame.It took us almost two weeks to normalize the database and complete it.
We went to Bangalore again to complete the formalities at the company. This time there wasn't much problem but had to wait for a long time before we were allowed inside.
Hurdle #5: Designing the web pages and coding in ASP .net
Coding wasn't actually the problem though we had 0% knowledge with ASP .net. With a bit of knowledge in C# (only console programming as part of our curriculum) we couldn't start coding in ASP .net until my friend (actually my sister's friend) showed me some snippets of doing few things. We divided the coding part, so that we can do it simultaneously and complete it earlier (also since our coordinator at the company asked us to do so).
Except me everybody started designing and were almost on the verge of completing their part in designing the web pages. I was googling for using the tab controls in ASP .net. After bit of success with the search I started designing the pages. I designed the pages with tab strip controls. I had to hard code the controls for placing it inside the multipage control (used with tab strip control to provide different page for different tabs). Then came the worst part. I wanted to test a bit of the control with programming. I coded for a simple control and ran it. It didn't work. I tried with different controls but all in vain. I googled again but found no answer for it. The problem was that the controls placed inside the multipage controls were not recognized by the compiler. Oh my god, I had to redesign the web pages (about 10 web pages with lot of controls). Atlast I managed to copy paste the code for the web pages with some modifications.
I finished 80% of my web page designing part and others almost 100%. It was the penultimate week of Febraury. We have to hurry through to finish our project!!
Hurdle 6#: Jolt from our college
We were expecting our classes to end by Febraury. We were thinking of doing our most part of the project work during the one month period of May. A jolt struck us; our classes were extended till the end of May. We still had a lot of things to complete.
Hurdle 7#: System failure at Janani's house
To join our list of hurdles another problem arised. System failed at Janani's house and .net wasn't working properly after the recovery. So, she coded and e-mailed the files to me. I had to test and debug if there were any problem.
Hurdle 8#: System failure at Prakash's house
Though the failure was recovered we lost time.
System failure at my house
I had to replace my RAM as it failed. I lost a day due to this.
Even after these problems we completed things at a rapid pace. Whenever we thought the project was almost completed many things arised that we had to implement. It seemed it will never end. We were at full swing as the deadline neared. We had to work a minimum of 10 hours a day to complete our project in time.Hurdle 10#:
King of all hurdles
It was the day, we have to leave to Bangalore to submit our project and get the certificate. We still had some work to complete and prepare the user manual and the installation manual. We were confident of finishing the work. We planned to meet at my house on that morning so that we could finish our work and leave to the railway station from my home. Then came the jolt a powerful one from the power cut. It was 9:15 in the morning when the power was cut. I waited for about 15 minutes. I searched the newspaper for any notice of power cut. Damn, it was listed that the power cut was for regular maintenance. Prakash called me to say that .net in his system is not working properly and the Janani will come to my house only in the evening for some reason. All doors were being shut except a window. I quickly called my friend Nagarajan and asked him whether he is free, there isn't a power cut in his area so that I can go there finish my work there. My friend arrived at my home by 11 o'clock. We immediately started taking my system to his house. We had to interrupt their project work. I am grateful to him. We started on the things that were left.
In the mean time we called Janani and ask her to do some work. The problem is that she didn't have a CD writer. You might think of Internet connection and sending those files by e-mail. The telephone played its part too. Her connection was out of order for a week. We asked her to try to burn the files in the CD at a nearby friend's house. She gave us an affirmation. She had to put the files in a floppy and take it to her friends house to burn it in the CD. She called us by 3 o'clock in the evening to inform us that the floppy drive at her friends house was really a "floppy"
drive. It didn't work properly. She told us that she couldn't write it in the CD and she is going to bring it in the floppy.
We have almost completed the things by 4:30 in the evening. Another half an hour to touch up on small things. We came back home at 5:30 p.m. completing our part. By the time the power was back. Janani came to my house around 5:45 p.m. Luckily there wasn't much problem with the floppy in my system. We had to test those files and it had some errors. We had to correct it. It was around 7:40 p.m. when I was creating the setup file. I want double check it before writing it in to the CD. I tested it in my system. Bingo! again there was some problem. I created the setup file again. This time it worked. I wrote the setup file, source code and the manuals in the CD at 7:50 p.m. and went to bath with some satisfaction.
I came back running after my bath to inform my friends that I have missed to write the database dump file in the CD. It was 8:00 p.m. I gave another CD and asked them to write the dump file and went to have my dinner. We had to catch our train to Bangalore that was scheduled at 9:45 p.m the same evening.
My father was shouting at me for messing up things till the last minute. We started at 8:30 p.m. and luckily we got the bus immediately to the railway station and there wasn't much traffic. We reached the station by 9 o'clock well in time to catch the train.Hurdle #11:
The last of all
We were very happy to reach the company and submit the project. They asked us the demonstration of our project. We installed the software and everything went fine. When we tried to view the web page it didn't show up. The problem was the .net framework wasn't installed. We tried in another system after the lunch time. This time the problem was with IIS (web server that can host ASP). We tried, tried, tried and tried............ Atlast it showed up the home page after some tweaks. We couldn't show the full demo as we had to import the database which they said they can't do it at that moment. We showed them the screenshots and explained the things that they got to do to work with the system.
We received our certificate and walked out happily and with a sense of relief.
During all those last two weeks I had dreams(it was always a disturbing one) of the project. Even on the train (on our last trip) I couldn't sleep properly. It was a tension filled four months which was more adventurous than we expected. I had nice sleep after a long time only on 19 April 2006. I also have to thank Aswin
for his inputs and helping me out many times.
Hope such things never happen for anyone....