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Stranger in a strange land - Can I have a reality check, please?


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#1
23cricket

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Hello,

Somehow or another my wife and I got involved in a project in Southeast Asia that is attempting to build a very complex website. It is being built in (with?) ASP.NET MVC 4.0. The site will have forum, reviews, booking, classifieds, and general information pages and the hope is that it will have <1000's of registered users. It will be an English language site.

There are two coders - although they seem to be pretty good coders, they speak extremely limited English and their writing skills are also limited. That's how my wife and I got involved. We are the token English speakers and writers - travel writers by trade. We have ended up as the "project managers" cultural interpreters and main beta testers. Although we are computer savvy, we don't write code, and this is the first website that we have tried to help design. This is also the most complex project that these coders have ever attempted.

So I need a reality check. The progress on the site is very slow. To try to speed things up, I asked the coders if it was possible to take open-source material, written for ASP.NET and plug it into their code. For example, I have seen a few forum projects written in ASP.NET MVC that are much further developed than what we have, which is basically nothing at this point.

They say no, cannot. Their databases won't match anything else and besides open source is full of malware! They think that they have to write every line themselves. I think it will take forever.

Am I crazy?

Thanks!

David
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#2
admin

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Open source is NOT "full of malware". However, since the code is publicly available for all to see, vulnerabilities may be easier to find. Security through obscurity. This is mitigated by being diligent with patches when vulnerabilities are discovered.

That being said, they could likely use an open source forum and build a "bridge" to connect their database to the forum. It's done all the time with forums like this and others. This would allow a single sign on, shared commenting, avatars, pretty much any integration they have planned.
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#3
23cricket

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Thanks for that!

I am of the same mind as you on open source software. I have often seen the argument that it can be more secure than proprietary code. It seem like a Ford vs. Chevy or Apple vs. PC argument to me.

They claim (from what I can understand) that their databases are written in such a way that they will not match up with anyone else's code. Maybe that is (job?) protection, maybe security or maybe a design flaw - I don't know. Maybe they are intimidated at the documentation since their English is limited. I can understand that. I just want to try to speed the project up and get something going that is useful and cool - sometime before next year!

It has been an interesting experience in cross-cultural communication. :headhurt:

I appreciate your feedback!

Thanks!

David
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#4
admin

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They claim (from what I can understand) that their databases are written in such a way that they will not match up with anyone else's code. Maybe that is (job?) protection, maybe security or maybe a design flaw - I don't know.

I think there's some miscommunication here, or outright deception. Since you mention ASP.NET I'm guessing it's probably a MsSQL database, but it doesn't really matter whether it's MsSQL, MySQL, or even something bespoke. A database is essentially just a big text file. The rest of the code determines how its displayed. For example the content of the post you're reading is stored in a table called 'posts'. It's the largest table in the database for this forum as it contains the content of all the posts. There are also tables for post number, titles, date/time posted, username, join date, password, etc., etc. In our case a PHP script calls the content from these database tables to display on this page. It would still just be a page full of text, until the CSS adds the formatting.

As long as you have the proper credentials (database name, port, user, password) the database doesn't care what is accessing this text. Our download page is a script independent of the forum. but it shares parts the database and CSS. So it looks similar, allows you to remain logged in, comment, have your avatar appear, etc. This could just as easily be done with your application.
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#5
23cricket

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I think there's some miscommunication here, or outright deception.

Certainly the former is probably true and it is very likely that there is a bit of the latter as well, but not (I truly hope) in a malicious way. I am learning that in Asian business culture, relations with others have a lot to do with "face" and status. It is extremely hard for folks over here to admit - especially to someone older, of a different perceived rank, or to outsiders - that they don't know, that they don't have the skills, or that they may have made a mistake.

As long as you have the proper credentials (database name, port, user, password) the database doesn't care what is accessing this text. ... This could just as easily be done with your application.

Thank you, that is my take on it. As a non-coder it really helps to know that I was not thinking crazy!

It looks like it is more a cultural / communication / personnel issue and not a technical one. I can deal with that...

It's a very interesting experience, to say the least. Thanks for the "reality check!"

David
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