Programming success?

The two main programming languages we use at work to build helpful little tools to speed up the tedious jobs are Javascript and Python.  I’ve been making reasonably good progress at learning Javascript, but the Python stuff I’ve been leaving to Lucy-Jane, who is a much more skilled programmer than me.  On Friday afternoon, she had built me a quick little Python tool to help download a load of files from a website, and save them with logically-structured filenames that I’d then be able to use to automatically generate most of the metadata.  It took a lot of back and forth of testing against all the possible conditions it might encounter, but we thought we had it right.  However, as I was running it this morning, it hit a snag – there was one condition we hadn’t allowed for, and it was stopping the download from running correctly.  And Lucy-Jane was working off-site for the day, so I couldn’t just hand it back to her to fix.

So I tried fixing it myself.  Even though I don’t know Python, I do understand the general logic of how programming languages work, so I was able to read through her code and figure out roughly where the problem was, and (with a combination of Googling and guesswork) add in the extra few steps it needed to deal with the extra condition.  And it worked!

I was incredibly proud of myself …for the few minutes that it kept working for, before it hit another problem and failed again.  But after a bit of help from Chris (who’s our other resident Python expert) I managed to add in some diagnostics, and discovered that the problem wasn’t with my coding after all, it was a problem with the website.

So I’ve written (kind of… ok, *contributed to*) my first Python programme!

Between this and yesterday’s server wrangling, I’m feeling like a serious IT expert 😉