Week Beginning 1st April 2013

Last weekend was Easter, and I took a few additional days off to recharge the old batteries.  Because of this there was no weekly update last week, and this week’s is going to be relatively short too, as I only worked Wednesday to Friday.  My Easter Egg count was four this year, with only one still intact.

I spent quite a bit of time this week working on the requirements for the Mapping Metaphor website, in preparation for next week’s team meeting.  Wendy emailed a first draft of a requirements document to the team last week and on Wednesday I went through this in quite some detail, picking out suggestions and questions.  This took up most of the day and my document had more than 50 questions in it, which I hoped wasn’t too overwhelming or disheartening.  I emailed the document and arranged to meet Wendy the following day to discuss things.  We had a really useful meeting where we went through each of my questions / suggestions.  In a lot of cases Wendy was able to clarify things very well and my understanding of the project increased considerably.  In other cases Wendy decided that my questions needed further discussion amongst the wider group and these questions will be emailed to the team before next week’s meeting.  Our meeting took about two hours and was pretty exhausting but was hugely useful.  It will probably take another few meetings like this with various people before we get a more concrete set of requirements that can be used as the basis for the development of the online tool.

Also this week I revisited the website I’ve set up for Carole’s ICOS2014 conference.  Daria emailed me with some further suggestions and updates and I managed to get them all implemented.  An interesting one was to add multilingual support to the site.  I ended up using qTranslate (http://www.qianqin.de/qtranslate/) which was really easy to set up and works very well – you just select the languages you want to be represented and then your pages / posts have different title and content boxes for each language.  A simple flag based language picker works well in the front end and loads the appropriate content, adding the two letter language abbreviation to the page URL too.  It’s a very nice solution.

The Bess of Hardwick website moved a little closer to launch this week as well.  All being well it should launch next week, and I’ll be able to get the mobile interface up and running too.  Alison had mentioned that it was likely that Zoomify would be used (the Flash version) in order to access images of the manuscript pages on the site.  As Flash isn’t supported at all in iOS and is deprecated in Android this would mean no mobile or tablet devices would be able to access any of the images.  I did some investigation about found a freely available Javascript based tool that could work with Zoomify tiles:  OpenLayers (http://openlayers.org/dev/examples/zoomify.html) .  Hopefully it will be possible for this tool to be used instead of Zoomify as it will greatly improve access to the images.

I was also contacted this week by Patricia Iolana, who is putting together an AHRC bid.  She wanted me to give feedback on the Technical Plan for the bid, and I spent some time going through the bid information and commenting on the plan.

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