Docpg – Trip down memory lane


Docpg was originally a perl script (my first perl learning exercise) when I was preparing for my PG entrance exam. It was hosted initially on free servers such as tripod and later on my domain derminfo.net that I lost subsequently. However, the present version of docpg, with emphasis on the dental mcqs started in 2002-2003. This is about the ‘facebook-like’ moments of docpg that probably served several generations of PG aspirants.

In the late nineties, my friend S, came out with an interesting and innovative concept. To have a website to discuss difficult questions commonly encountered in PG entrance exams. He created the most catchy acronym and the most popular domain name for ‘Frequently Unanswered Questions for PG entrance’. It was probably the first successful entrance mcq website, when websites were a rarity and creating a website was not as easy as signing up for wix.

During my PG days (late nineties), I was interested in web programming, and I learnt PHP + MySQL, now popularly known as LAMP and created a database driven application for MCQ management. It struck me that I could actually identify FUQPG if I write every response from every user in the database. But unfortunately, I did not have good quality questions for the database.

After my PG, I joined as an Asst prof in SRMC. While having a pitcher of beer with my friend M from Oral Medicine, he told me that he has a collection of dental mcq resources, that was difficult to find elsewhere. I sold the idea of FUQPG to him, and he typed out the initial database on his newly bought computer over 4 to 6 months! something that I would never have had the patience to do! Docpg (then docpg.com; I lost this domain too..) was born in the computer room in the basement of SRMC library.

PHP was in version 3; I was new to programming and the docpg code was poorly written not following any best practices and was not portable. I wrote and still write much more complex code, but docpg is still dear to me as the most popular and the most useful piece of code that I have written. It is surprising that though it is conceptually simple, nobody attempted to code an mcq management system in the last 15 years of docpg’s existence! (to my knowledge.)

I never got time to maintain docpg for several years, and recently I gave it a facelift as part of my social media integration learning project. I also added the user contribution section that I believe would make it always relevant with new mcqs. But the original idea and the original database belongs to S & M 🙂

Docpg is now available as http://docpg.co.in redirecting to the homepage on my website.

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