Oct 31, 2011

Online Exams: Behind the Scenes

After a quiet Diwali at IIT-R, where just about a fifth of the students stayed behind, it was time to go back to work at IMG, but there was a minor difference this time: this was a finishing touch to something I had been working on for over a semester. After a few hassles (when most of my seniors were home), I could finally do it right: the launch of my first application for the intranet, Online Exams.


It was way back in January, when I was still trying to cope up with the Roorkee winter that I was given this project. I still remember the day, a then fourth yearite, Pulkit Vashishta, was chairing the meeting and announcing the projects that were to be assigned to each new member.My excitement was increasing exponentially with each passing assignment. After a few, all of which I had an urge to do, finally, I was assigned Online Exams.

During an exam
We were also given a basic task in PHP, just before starting the project. Coincidentally, I was the first one to finish it off and never look back, until the next meeting, when I realised every time you opened my code, an infinite number of pop ups would come up! The reason behind that was simple, I had not put any checks: neither browser side, nor server side! So much for completing it early. Although these checks have been my first priority ever since.

Exam Review
This incident developed a kind of hatred in me towards databases. So I was quite reluctant to go for the same in my new project, opting for XML files for storing data. I even started learning about XML parsing, until my project in-charge, Somya Sheshank, knocked some sense into me (well, in a politer way than it may seem from my last sentence.)
During the early stages of this project, it never occurred to me that a computer does only what you tell it to do. When I first showed my in-charge the running version of the same (that was a very basic version with only back, next and finish buttons), the back button also appeared in the first question and the next button in the last question meaning I could jump to the -5th question as well! Well, dunno about you, but it seemed pretty humorous to me! It does feel awesome that I have come a long way since!


For quite a few months now, it has seemed to me that this application could be launched the very next day, and every time I was close to the launch, someone would come up with a good suggestion, which would require another few days to complete. Add to it the weird errors that would creep up due to unexplainable reasons (even though I came up with solutions to each one, believe me, I am still bewildered as to what caused some of them.)

The Poster
And yes, the acknowledgements. At first, I thought I'd tag them in facebook... On second thoughts, I thought this space is more precious to me( and easily accessible later)! First and foremost, Somya Sheshank, for in-charging the project and helping me throughout; Shilpa Choudhary, for the design; Akshit Khurana, for helping me implement the design and listening to all my doubts patiently (believe me, even I had started feeling my doubts were annoying); Anubhav Agarwal, Anurag Paul and Vaibhav Gupta, for suggesting those finishing touches, without which, it would not have been so appealing; Aditya Gupta, for the questions; Pradeep Kumar Gayam, for sympathizing with me when I had to add the questions manually; Nivedan Ravi, for helping me integrate it with VLE(Virtual Learning Environment); Nikhil Srivastava, for rushing me into launching it; Mayank Garg and Vivek Prakash, for helping me shift it to the new server; and all the others for those valuable suggestions (Top Contributor was "D"). Last and certainly NOT the least, Jitesh, for making the poster at such short notice! Thank you everyone for helping me make this from scratch! Cheers...

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7 responses:

Kapil said...

you were definitely not the first to make the php form. It was mansukh followed by me, and ours didn't even have that infinite popups, I believe.
Anyway, even if u say that u did before me, you were still not the first.

ds_mik said...

well, i hadn't posted the link after i made it. i did it only after others started doing it and literally switched off from the thread after that!

Kapil said...

I hadn't read the whole post then. But u haven't acknowledged those who uploaded the questions and ofcourse, u forgot me. JK ! :)

ds_mik said...

I haven't acknowledged those who uploaded the questions because NO ONE DID THAT! I assigned the task to some 5-6 people and not even a single question was added!

Nikhil said...

Out of all the people u have mentioned, mine seems to be opposite of helping. :P

ds_mik said...

Well, I required that nudge, or else I would've waited till all my seniors were back :P

Pawan Seerwani said...

Me-Top contributor.. Yay.. \m/
Thanks for the tag.. :P

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