Week Beginning 10th December

I started off this week by continuing with the mobile interface for Bess of Hardwick, which I had begun last week.  I managed to complete a first version of this interface that I’m pretty happy with.  In addition to making the interface work with the full width of the browser and show / hide any navigation options I also managed to use Jquery to position some icons at the end of the sections of the letters, enabling a user to tap the icon to display a pop-up containing information about scribal hands.  With the main site this information only appears when the user hovers the cursor over a section of a letter, so with a touchscreen there was no way to access this information.  My little icons fix this, although it may well be that having icons dotted throughout each letter is considered a bit intrusive.  I completed a mock-up version of the site that covers all of the pages (though obviously not all of the content – generally only one page per type, e.g. one letter, one search results page etc) and sent the URL to Alison for comment.  I’m not going to make the URL available here as the main Bess site is still not publicly available and I don’t want to spoil the surprise of the main site!

After polishing off Bess I moved on to Burns.  I spent a bit of time this week going through the existing site and compiling a list of possible improvements, combining this with the website document previously created by Pauline.  I also got my local test version of the site installed on my laptop so I could demonstrate the changes I’d made at the Burns project meeting on Thursday.  I also engaged in an email debate with one of the project’s US partners about the use of TEI and XML in general when creating  digital editions.  The project meeting on Thursday was very useful and took up most of the morning.  We went through the website and discussed what should be changed and who should provide content for each section and it was a very positive meeting.

I had a further meeting with Stevie about the Corpus sever on Friday morning, which was also very productive.  Stevie wanted to set up a local instance of the server on his laptop and we tackled this together.  It was a good way to revise how to set up the server as we’ll have to do this again some time soon when we move from the test server to a proper server.  I also spent a little time on Friday morning looking at the user interface for the front end.  It shouldn’t be too difficult to adapt this interface, but there will be issues in doing so.  A lot of the HTML is buried within functions deep within the code for the front end.  Initially Stevie had an older version of the interface installed on his laptop and comparing this code to the more up to date version of the code we have on the server demonstrated that significant changes had been made between versions.  If we create a new, bespoke interface for the College of Arts it will work perfectly with the current version of the front end (hopefully!) but when (or if) new versions of the front end are released there is no guarantee that our interface will continue to work.  Ideally the front end would have its layout located in one place and changing it would be a simple process of replacing one set of layout scripts with another, but as a lot of the layout is buried in the code it’s going to be a bit messier and not really a sustainable solution.  We’ve emailed Marc about this with the hope that he can initiate a dialogue with the creator of the front end to see where future developments may be headed and how our work may fit in with these.

For the rest of the week I began working on the mobile interface for the STELLA app ‘ARIES’.  This is going to be interesting because it will be the first app that will require a lot of user interaction, e.g. dragging full stops into sentences and evaluating the results.  At the moment I’m only putting up the site structure but next week I’ll start to look into how to handle the exercises.

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