After a long time me continuing from what I had left updating, about my project. Its going to be a year now, and things are much different. For sure my thinking has changed a lot, then what I had when I used to work there at the office for project work.
From where I left you, to continue let me tell you atleast now, what my project was all about, the title for the beginning is “Time Table Generator – for schools and colleges”. Now doesn’t the title sound wacky, kool one, though it wouldn’t make you understand anything.
Let me tell you in brief for first what my project was about. We together had to create a software, that could generate Time Tables for students and teachers, based on the inputs given by the school or college about different classes, courses, students, their subjects, the lecture or teacher in-charge, the class rooms, the lab details, the time the teacher could take the class and so on. And within the click of a button, an ideal time table must be generated. Now what do you say about that? Sounds mind blogging but interesting also at the same time na. We too thought the same, only time and work made us realize what we had to face.
Since I told u how we had planned to gather the information of how exactly time table is done manually, in different schools and college’s, first task was getting appointments to meet the person in-charge of time table. All 3 of us set in different directions to gather information. A week passed and we all three were back, feeding all the data collected in an excel sheet, to be reviewed, sorted and understand, what’s the whole scenario about.
It took some time for us how to do it, our guide in-charge, told us take a sample data, and trying doing it manually ourselves, so that then we’ll realize how we have to go through. It sounded really crazy for us, why he wants us to do a time table for a college, which has so many courses, and classes, and subjects and labs. Best part the college data we picked up ended up the worst scenario out of all, less classes, less students, small labs, and multi-subject lecturer’s. Fitting them all into one time table made us go crazy. We spent days and nights, banging our heads to come out with one time table which looked ok, but in student or teacher point of view, that was the worst one anyone would take as their time table. Now this job of creating time tables for schools and colleges can only be understood by the person who has worked on it, no one else. Believe me, he/she will be the right person to explain to you the pain they go through, so a quick note, next time you get your time table, just thank the person for making it so good, coz you wouldn’t have any idea, how much that person has toiled behind it to make it perfect.
So back about the project, after we somehow submitted our so called ideal time table for the college, the external guide just told us, whatever you did manually, put it in code, simple. It was like a dumb thing again, what he wants us to do, and the expression on each of our faces made him realize, he needs to be elaborate. So then he explained, what software is all about, where many times in life all IT professionals forget, “a faster way to do things that had been done manually”, am I right? All we do is, ask the computer to do things faster, what we used to do, taking longer time to finish it, of course, then we put some new logic, so that the computer does it much more faster, and efficient, but the base rule still sticks.
We did it, and to our amazement, it didn’t work. There were errors, flaws in coding, mismatch of data inserted and so on and so forth. In between, we also did work on Data Flow Diagrams, which pictorially shows how data flows in the software, then algorithms, then a ER diagram, entity relationship diagrams, it really didn’t enter my head for two and half years, but now when I put into practice it did sounds and work meaningful. It’s really necessary to do these diagrams, so you know exactly and how does the whole software that you going to work on works. So in between the hectic time schedule of the office, we used to give reason of whole day viva of the diagrams n stuff, and used to bunk working, and loiter out. Our heads started losing hair due to, too much pressure, we started losing weight, since get enough time to hog as usual, life was a real hell for us in that office. Our only prayers in that office was, let power go out, or let lightning strike the office, or building collapse. And believe me I am not joking, we were fed up of this work thing, every other classmate of ours were roaming, partying, enjoying all days, and we three day and night just slogging and slogging, and that too it turned out to be vain every end of the day.
Now we also came to some new terminology, DEADLINES, every IT guy and now every working professional knows this term well. The scariest of all, our guide started giving us deadlines for every work of ours, and we had no clue what to do. Come on, after all we are not professionals, this was our first project, and he wanted us to finish things on time, anyways, we couldn’t keep up to the deadlines, but the good part, our code started working, part by part. Flaws were rectified, errors were corrected, data was reviewed and reviewed and corrections were made, logic of the code and coding was reviewed over and over again, and somehow, things started falling into place.
A day came, when we clicked a button, and EUREKA, there was the time table for classes ready, and believe me, that was the happiest day for all 3 of us, though it was not perfect, but something was better than nothing. That evening after work, we went out, and had lots of snacks and chats, to celebrate the occasion. A very peaceful sleep we had that night, and refreshing morning, smilingly we came back to the same place. And now, the next part, changing the part of logic bit by bit, so things fall in place. Time table was becoming ideally perfect, at least for us. But now, it was not done; this was just subjects, teachers, and time duration. Next part to include was labs, combined subjects, fixed hours, free hours, and workload for teachers, and recurrence of the subjects per day, core subjects and liner subjects. The time table was back to same, half empty for some classes, some classes no time table itself, some teachers over workload, some free for weeks, etc. So we started banging our heads again, things not working here, deadline pressure, submission pressure, and overall no holidays.
Christmas came, New Year was celebrated, Republic day passed on, and we were just at work and work and work. But then our hard work did start bearing fruits, time table was coming out, step by step, in an ideal format. And then the month of Valentines came, February. Our guide said its done, you have crossed your deadlines, and we can start working, coz there’s lots more to do, and we wont be able to do it, so we can start the part of documentation for our presentation at the college. We were all sad and angry with him now, come on, if he had helped us a little we would have done it, design was ready, time table was coming, just the part of exchanging the hours was not happening, that’s it, but no, he was not ready to accept it. We didn’t know what to do, cry and fall to his leg, asking for more time and help, or just quit. And then we just decided, come on at-least we have to submit the documents, and so we started going against the company rules, copied all my files, code and everything somehow, and left the place for good. After all I didn’t want my work to go in vain, I wanted my hard work for me, and the rest two also did the same. We stopped going to the company, coz what was the use, we started going to college, hanging out, roaming around, in between documentation, of something’s, most of it, copy from the previous batch, and somehow the record was ready.
Now we needed confirmation letter of our work for the project from the work place, so we had to go back again and plead for it, and somehow were not in the right mood to do that, but then we kept our feelings aside, and set our foot, we have to get it. We met our guide, and he did speak nicely, asked a copy of the record for review, and promised us to give the letters by two days, and he did. Things went on kool, we started preparing for presentation, worst part, after working so much, our’s was the only project team who didn’t have any software installation or anything, but we kept our hopes high, coz compared to most our’s was one of the toughest software we planned to do, rest also did some billing and content management projects, which were equally hard one’s, but our’s needed more of logic oriented, than data management.
Time came for presentation, and I was the first in my group to go, did my best part of presentation, showed the design, and made the external invigilator understand what was happening. To our un-expectations, the person was amazed to see, we did this, and it even worked. He actually wanted to see this software, but for his bad luck, we didn’t have anything to show him much, but he was happy, that made us happy.
Time passed, days of college came to an end, everyone started focusing on their future career that the results came out, and to my amazement, I got 84%, praise God, was the only thing I could say. Someone, somewhere had rightly said, “Hard work does payback”. The rest is in your hands.
This is my short story of turning of events and life style in the course of time of this project work, “Time Table Generator- for schools and college’s”.
Very soon, if possible I’ll upload my project copy for you to see, if you interested. Happy reading and when you done reading this, it’s time for you to get back to your work, than worrying about deadlines later.