Summer in Nepal Part 3

My summer in Nepal has been such a formative experience as I was directly involved within the development of a large online library that would be utilized to provide educational content to students and educators all over Nepal.

Within my experience, I have found that a significant portion of developing a platform is research and adaptation.  While I was developing for E-Pustakalaya we chose to build it using the DSpace architecture, the reasons for this decision can be found here.  I had to draw from my experience with Java and SQL to implement and configure the desired features within DSpace architecture, but I also had to learn how to code in XSLT and learn the fundamentals of web development.  This is a common hurdle faced by anyone who is in development as platforms often utilize many computer languages to form their systems.  I have faced this issue in my computer science classes at Davidson but not to the scale of DSpace.  Many hours were spent combing through code documentation to fully understand the structure and functions provided by the DSpace architecture so that we could implement our desired features within that environment.  It hammered in the value of well-written, descriptive code documentation so that future developers could build off of what has been put initially put forth.  Manoj, one of the software developers I worked with, stressed the value of these good practices with all the code the team had written.  For instance, even the simple habit of switching to a different snapshot of the project dedicated to experimental code so that if everything went wrong there was always a back up we could roll back to has helped tremendously in troubleshooting problems and speeding up the process.  These are development habits that I have learned on the job and will have with me for future projects.

OLE and maybe even Nepal in general has opened my eyes to the world of the work environment.  Nepal has a certain reputation for being more laid back time wise within the work environment, which is a stark contrast to the type-A, get it done environment of Davidson. For instance, I did not feel the looming pressure of deadlines as our timelines for the project were very flexible which I felt contributed to a very productive and enthusiastic atmosphere.  It allowed me the option to take a step back and genuinely look at the bigger picture instead of just chugging out code for specific features for days on end.