Elena, the Russian poet I stayed with in Paris, came to Berlin for a couple of days. She stayed one night in the room with the sofa futon and piano, claiming bravely that she liked rooms that were fraîche (the coal heating does not make room temperature significantly warmer than the frigid outside world). Yesterday we had lunch with her friend, Mark, who talked to me about programming. 'What do YOU think I should learn?' I asked. Mark said he would recommend Java, PHP and Drupal, especially Drupal.
I had a look at the Drupal website today. My heart sank. Anything that involves setting up a database on my webserver, 1&1, is a threat to sanity. (I would have changed servers years ago, except that transferring a domain from 1&1 is another fast track to the psych ward.) This is, needless to say, one reason occasional thoughts of trying out Ruby on Rails have been strangled at birth. But no, no, no, we must face our fears. In this case, the fear of a server that has a proliferation of user IDs and host names and multiplies entities upon creation of a database. With the result that, needless to say, the attempt to install Drupal led to many, many error messages, hours of scouring around online, an hour when changing servers (even if it meant the madness-inducing domain transfer) looked like the only way forward . . . and in the end, of course, the answer was very simple. The name of the database requested by Drupal was NOT the name the creator of the database had innocently assigned it, it was the string of letters and numbers assigned by 1&1; the user name was a similar string of letters and numbers; and the local host (yet another string of letters and numbers) was crucial. When all these were supplied, Drupal installed in 2 seconds.