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Look, Ma! I’m a web admin!

Dore has been working on catching up on all of her loose ends now that she’s done with classes, and one of the things on her list was to get up to date with logging all of her counseling hours.  So last night I fired up the PSY|tracker application that I build for her a while back, dusted off the cobwebs, and got it running again on my laptop.  (If you’re curious, the application is basically a glorified time card that tracks various counseling activities that Dore has to report for internship applications and the like.  It’s not too fancy, but it was a good way to get my feet wet using Django.)

I was reasonably happy to find that the application still worked.  “But why wouldn’t it?” I hear you ask, “It’s just been sitting there… nothing has changed.” And normally I’d agree with you.  But this is the land of computers, and bit rot is a very real danger.  For some reason that is still unexplained by computer science, a program that hasn’t been run in a while is almost certainly broken.  Don’t ask me why.  I just know if to be true.

But despite my inward cringing, Dore happily went along, getting all of her hours logged and data collected without a hitch.  Hooray!  I’ll allow myself a minor pat on the back for a job (reasonably) well done.

Given that I have this fancy-schmancy new web site going, this evening I figured it was high time to give the newly resurrected PSY|tracker a real live home.  So I set about getting everything in place to host it on lavering.net.  I won’t bore you with too many details, but here’s what I ended up doing:

  • Set up a new http://apps.lavering.net subdomain for my Django apps
  • Add a MySQL database
  • Mess with some user settings
  • Install Django (The DreamHost wiki was really helpful here.  I’m definitely digging them as a host so far.  Crossing my fingers that the good experience will continue.)
  • Add a Subversion repository to hold the source code for the application
  • Import the code from my laptop repository to the remote one
  • Completely restructure the application directory structure (I’m planning on having more apps in the future, so it makes sense to set up for that now)
  • Check all of the changes into the repository
  • Test out the web site
  • Make some more tweaks to get all of the paths right
  • Check everything in again
  • Import all of the database data from my laptop (fortunately this was relatively easy, since I only had one user, and she was in bed reading by this time 🙂 )
  • Test one last time

I have to say, as many things as I needed to do, I’m really surprised at how easy everything came together.  Sure, it took a long time, but that was just because I was figuring a lot of stuff out as I went.  And now everything is up, working, and good to go.  Cool!

I think tomorrow I may take a break from all this tech and do something a little different.  But who knows.  Stay tuned…

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