overcoming dataphobia

One of my weaknesses as a client-focussed programmer is that I don't know a lot about how servers work. Specifically, I have a mild phobia related to web technologies and databases. It started out as elitism: as a game programmer I held myself above business application programming, which extended to database management. Elitism turned into passive and then active avoidance: I found that I could avoid by doing anything web or data related through a combination of sloth and social engineering. Somewhere along the line the elitism turned into a phobia.

Eventually it became a problem that had to be faced. All of the cool kids are making web apps these days. Even game programmers have to face the music.

I'm trying to work on the community builder software again. It's been slow going at first, but I think I'm beggining to break through the fog. I'm using C# and ASP.NET, a choice you may disagree with, but I have my reasons*.  I don't have a good reference for ASP though, and like I said, I have mental issues that make this kind of work really hard. But I'm finally getting to the point of creating controls and pages, so that's mildly encouraging.

The worst part, for me, is figuring out what toolset to use, because each toolset makes a different set of assumptions that I am largely unaware of, and I have my own set of assumptions that I'm also unaware of. Sorting it all out took most of my energy on Sunday. Now I feel like I've settled on a data design and a database access plan that I can move forward with. Let's see if it sticks this time.

*I've tried teaching myself ruby on rails a couple times, and it's never really stuck. I can get some things done, but the entire work flow feels foreign to me, and dealing with the constantly changing rails framework is a pain in the neck. ALSO, there's no good IDE support. (see: I hate eclipse.)**. I might try java in NetBeans with the Google Web Toolkit, but I haven't picked up java for years, and I hate it too. Say what you will (and I will!) about Microsoft, but they make solid development tools, and when you commit to an all MS pipeline, the integration is hard to beat.
**The real reason Rails never seemed right to me, I suspect, is that I did not grow up on Perl and PHP. Even the name PHP makes want to throw up a little, if that gives you some idea of how I feel about web programming.

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