Week Beginning 26th November

This was my first week in my new office and while the room is lovely the heating has been underperforming somewhat, meaning I’ve been chilled to the bone by lunchtime most days.  Thankfully some heating engineers worked their magic on Thursday and after that the office has been nice and toasty.

I spent a lot of time this week continuing to develop the ‘Readings’ app that I started last week.  In fact, I have completed this app now, in standard HTML5.  This version can be accessed here: http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/STELLA/briantest/readings/ (but note that this is a test URL and will probably be taken down at some point).  All the content for Old, Middle and Early Modern English is present, including all sound files, texts, translations and notes.  After completing this work I started to look into wrapping the website up as an app and deploying it.  Unfortunately I haven’t quite managed to get Phonegap (or Apache Cordova as the open source version is properly know as http://docs.phonegap.com/en/2.2.0/index.html) working on my PC yet.  I spent a frustrating couple of hours on Friday afternoon trying to set it up but by the end of the day I was still getting errors.  Next week I will continue with this task.

One limitation to app development will be that developing apps for iOS requires not only a Mac but also paying Apple $99 per year for a developer certificate.  I’ll have to see whether this is going to be feasible.  It might be possible to arrange something through STELLA and Marc.

Also this week I continued to develop the Digital Humanities Network website, fixing a few issues, such as ‘subjects’ not working properly.  I also created a new way of recording project PIs as the current system was a bit inefficient and led to people being recorded with different names (e.g. sometimes with ‘Professor’, othertimes without).  Now PIs are only recorded in the system once and then linked to as many projects as required.  I also updated the ‘projects’ page so that it is possible to view projects linked to a specific PI.  And finally, I asked some people to sign up with the site and we now have a decent selection of people represented.  More would still be good though!

My other major task this week was to work some more with the Burns website.  I started last week to look into having sub-pages for each song, and this week I found a solution which I have now implemented on my local test installation of the website.  I reached the solution in a bit of a round-about way unfortunately.  I initially intended song ‘pages’ to be blog posts and to have a category listing in the menu to enable drop-down access to the individual song ‘pages’.  I thought this would work quite nicely as it would allow commenting on the song pages, and it would still also allow an HTML5 player to be embedded within the blog content.  However, the more I looked into this solution the more I realised it was far from ideal.  You can’t have a drop-down list of blog pages from a menu in WordPress (which is understandable as there could be thousands of blog posts) so I had to create subcategories that would only be used for one single post.  Plus when viewing the blog archives or other blog views the song pages would be all mixed in with the proper blog pages.  Instead I found a much easier way of having sub-pages represented in the menu bar as drop-down items and added these instead.  At the moment I’ve had to activate commenting on all pages in order for users to be able to post comments about songs.  There will be a way to state that comments should not be possible on certain pages but I still need to find a way to do this.

Also this week I attended a further meeting of the Corpus Workgroup, which was useful. We are all very happy with the way the test server is working out and we now need to get a dedicated server for the Corpus software.  The next step of development will be to try and get multiple front-ends working with the data, which should be an interesting task.

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