The Trials and Tribulations of Django + Git

I just finished my last exam today - Web Programming and Scripting - which explains the distinct lack of activity around here in recent times. Thankfully I could end my exam season on a high, as web programming is, well, what I do - so it wasn't too much of a challenge!

Something strange happens to me every time exams come around. I seem to pick up new projects, and just run with them. This time, I've become involved with a small group of people at university, writing a portal-style information system for universities. I suppose most people call this behavior procrastination, but I'm quite deeply in denial about that.

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Ever since my post about the Backtrac Backup System, I've been really enjoying using Django. Something about it just makes developing for the web, well, exciting. That can only be good, right? I am the designated server administrator for this latest project, mostly due to the fact that I am the only one with a server to administer, and some of the things I've learned so far seem worthy of a mention here. Firstly, we as developers were - how can I put it - stepping on each other toes somewhat. The project at this point had no version control, so we were just editing a bunch of files over SFTP. Obviously, some sort of Source Control Management was in order. I did some research, and decided that Git was a nice, modern alternative to the ever-popular SVN. It also meant that my server was constantly backed up by everyone on the team - but that's just a bonus!

So, I installed Git, and started a repository. A lot of effort went into learning how the system works, and more importantly, how to make it work for us. Directed Acyclic Graphs thankfully made some sense to me, so I could just about understand the documentation. I wrote some custom hooks, and a C Program to synchronise the web server. I was happy, and absolutely certain that this was the solution to all our woes. I was mistaken. Git just didn't work the way I had hoped. The custom hooks were throwing permission errors all over the place, and my development team (read: my friend Rob Miles) was locked out of the repository. We made the decision yesterday to scrap Git, and go back to the previous system of editing the files over SFTP. We are always in constant communication when developing for the project, so it's not too big a deal, but I feel that I failed as an administrator. You see, as an admin your job isn't just to play with cool toys and loud servers - your primary purpose is to give the users what they need to work, and that is most certainly not what I achieved.

I'm glad I took the time to learn Git - and I'm sure it will help me later in life, in some way or another. It's just unfortunate that it didn't work out the way I had hoped for our project.