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Sharing our programs - easy. Sharing our data - harder.

I can - and do - share most of the programs we write during training course here with "you" on our web site, where "you" are past delegates, potential customers, and indeed the world as a whole who may find them useful. Potential customers can see the sort of things we get up to, past delegates can make the most tremendous use of them from the associated notes and work they have done, and many of the examples are complete enough, together with blog comments that I make, for them to be useful to the world as a whole. You could consider these to be our contribution to the open source community - we're not set up to provide ongoing support of modules, but we are very much able to provide a learning and example resource - and our server stats and feedback shows that it is both used and appreciated.

But a number of issues arise from this approach.

The first is the support issue ... how to help with questions that arise from the world as a whole, often from readers with whom I don't share a fluency in any language, and / or who could eat up all of my available time, and time that I don't have available too.

The second is the context issue ... examples published are written in the context of a training course. They only use features of a subject taught up to the point at which the example is written, so in the whole wider picture of things they're far from perfect - yet readers coming to our site anew sometimes expect complete, sophisticated code snippets.

The third is the data issue ... although I can publish many programs tha access data files, the data files themselves may contain information that is copyrighted by someone, contains data that can't be released under data protection, gives away security clues, etc. Such data if fine for delegates during a course, but cannot be distributed automatically via our web site to the whole world.

The data issue is the most intractable, as it turns out. The major commercial investment in time goes into organisation's data, and even if that data is made available to the public to read, reproduction of it on our web site would lead to some pretty sharp exchanges, and in many cases we would be rightfully accused of breaking all sorts of copyright rules. We are allowed to reproduce parts of data for review, though, and you'll find that a page [here] shows you the top ten lines of each of our data files.

For some of our courses (things like the XML element of the Perl course), I have used configuration files from open source products so that the data can be accessed via that route, but even then I prefer a local copy as configuration files can change / be replaced. In response to a delegate request in the last few days, in fact, I've just uploaded a copy of a Tomcat configuration file, v 3.3, to our site - apps-admin.xml. Reading the copyright carefully (and retaining it in the sample), I think I'm clear in this case!

Other data which might have been "commercial in confidence" years ago is no longer so - so I'm also able (now) to provide a copy of access_log.xyz for delegates to download. And with an increase in bandwidth from servers, what I had feared could have been an expensive file for us to serve in the past will no longer be so.
(written 2010-06-26)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
G504 - Well House Consultants - Writing Notes
  [4031] Showing what programming errors look like - web site pitfall - (2013-03-06)
  [4009] Clear, concise examples - Ruby classes and objects. - (2013-02-17)
  [3152] Jargon busting - (2011-01-30)
  [2812] What is Perl? - (2010-06-15)
  [2481] Sample code with errors in it on our web site - (2009-10-29)
  [2414] Hello World - a good traditional start to a Java course - (2009-09-22)
  [2192] Copy writing - allowing for the cut - (2009-05-21)
  [2010] How long should a training module be? - (2009-01-27)
  [1950] Copyright of Training Notes and Web Site - (2008-12-18)
  [982] Notes from the white board - (2006-12-14)
  [979] Empty seats, Nodding Donkeys and buses - (2006-12-11)
  [797] Writing up new C / C++ notes. - (2006-07-09)
  [407] Theft of training material - (2005-08-09)
  [398] Training course material - why we write our own - (2005-07-30)
  [394] A year on - should we offer certified PHP courses - (2005-07-28)
  [9] Study room - the Oxford train - (2004-08-10)
  [7] Writing on a Sunday - (2004-08-08)
  [4] Seeing the wood for the trees. - (2004-08-06)

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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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