Request for Advice

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Hello all. As of last month, I have had some web design, Flash, basic
C and basic Linux experience. Nothing too extensive, but enough that I
could build a solid website with some logic. However, recently, I have
been presented a very large employment opportunity. (Keep in mind I am
currently a freshman majoring in Computer Engineering/Computer Science
at the University of Southern California.) The job would involve
developing (from scratch), administering and maintaining a large,
major website on a LAMP platform that would need to handle several
hundreds of thousands of hits daily within only a month or two of
launch. The site very closely resembles or; basically a set of user-registered profiles which are
searchable and browsable as well as interact through features like
discussion boards or internal messaging, similar to a dating service.
The site would have to be developed, tested (with the aid of beta
testers), and completed by, the latest, February 2005.

My question is, how feasible is it for me to take on this task with my
(somewhat limited) experience level? Once the site is developed I will
have an assistant who will aid me with debugging and maintenance, but
for the entire development cycle I will be on my own. Now, the only
reason I would consider such a task is because I am extremely
entrepreneurial in spirit at the moment. I am ready to put in very
long hours and very hard work for this project. The pay off will also
be very large. But I ask of you, is this doable? Is it possible? I
just spoke with a friend of mine who has worked with PHP for a few
years and he basically flat out told me I should drop the project and
run in the opposite direction. But I’ve worked through the book
'PHP and MySQL for Dynamic Websites' over the past two weeks to learn
the two, and I plan on reading High Performance MySQL next to make
sure the databases are built correctly, as well as learn everything
possible along the way... and it seems, from my viewpoint, that it
could be done. However, I was wondering what all you folks thought
about it.

So any advice you all could give me would be very strongly
appreciated, either to run from it or to dive in, and how to do either
of those. I may get flamed for proposing such rediculousness, but
please have any criticism be constructive. Any options, any methods,
anything would be great. Thanks very much.


Re: Request for Advice

On 17 Sep 2004 03:06:41 -0700, (Sam G)

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Of course it's dooable, but the big "grey area" is you.

I built in one week of evenings from start
to finish. That timescale came down to me having done similar projects
in the past, and not only having the experience to fall back on, but
having libraries of functions I had written previously to use.

You are going to have all the delays associated with learning as you
go, and having to re-do some things as you realise you haven't maybe
done something the most appropriate way.

Even with the above concerns, I still think you should be able to get
the site you are talking about done - as long as you have sufficient
"theoretical" knowledge about the technologies involved... for
instance, if you're going to need to learn SQL at all, or learn about
security issues, you're going to get bogged down.

It'll be interesting to see what others have to say on this...

Jonathan Beckett (
working on :

Re: Request for Advice

Jon Beckett wrote:

Quoted text here. Click to load it
I'd say go perl+mod_perl for building such a big site, with so many hits /
day, and that includes some learning too of course if you haven't used it
in the past.

php is for children
( okey flame me now )

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