While stuck at home, I got a message from a friend who was working on some of his websites. He really wanted to work on a particular one, but he didn’t know enough PHP or any SQL to really get it going. It was a good thing that he found me online and that I had a lot of time on my hands.

He’s working on a site that I happen to understand quite well. All the features he’s looking for are pretty similar to the things I work on at my day job. The only difference is that I use .NET stuff and he’s using PHP5. I worked on a team that developed an inventory system in PHP with MySQL, so I’ve got that background to help as well. What could possibly go wrong?

I figured the best way for this to work would be for him to show me what he’s working with and take it from there. After paying attention to some Twitter people and to posts in the NEODevEvents group, I installed Microsoft SharedView and sent the link to my friend. After a quick install, we were hooked up and ready to go.

My friend started sharing his environment with me, which helped me understand a lot and enabled me to give him direction without having to guess at what he was looking at. It also was nice to see his database structure without him having to copy and paste it in IMs. I was able to walk him through basic SQL queries via phpMyAdmin (and point out some of MySQL’s quirks that I wish worked in SQL Server and vice versa). We looked at his database structure, in which I was able to give him a couple tips as well.

Then came the PHP part. When I worked with PHP and MySQL, it was PHP4 and MySQL before it grew up (got views, stored procedures, and a lot of other features that other database packages already had). I had to learn this mysqli syntax, which thankfully isn’t too much different from what I used to work with. I was able to work with him on how to take what he learned with the SQL queries and how to use it in his code. Granted, it was basic stuff, but to be able to see his environment while this was going on helped a ton.

I definitely will use Microsoft SharedView again. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better soon enough so that I can do voice chats while working with people over SharedView, as I can see that making things go a lot easier as well. So check it out – if you have to work with someone remotely on code, SharedView is nice because you can show them what you’ve got and vice versa. You can also delegate control of your shared things to other connected users. Definitely a useful tool for remote collaboration!