Week beginning 7th October 2013

A very late and short report this week!  I was called for jury duty this week, and I had to turn up to court every day, mostly to sit around waiting to see if they wanted me.  On the whole they didn’t, although I was picked as a juror on Tuesday.  The trial only lasted a couple of hours before a plea bargain was accepted, though.  I still had to continue turning up each day after that, even though I had served on a jury, which I thought was a little unfair.  However, it is an important part of our civic duty so I didn’t mind really.

Due to all the time spent sitting around in court waiting rooms I only had about half a week where I was actually able to do any work, and I spent this continuing with the redevelopment of the SCOTS corpus website.  Pretty much all my time was taken up with the redevelopment of the ‘document view’ page, which has a lot of intricacies to it, such as search term highlighting and access to metadata and raw text versions.  I rewrote the search term highlighting Javascript code to use a more streamlined jQuery based approach, which achieves the same result in a fraction of the code.  I also slightly updated the functionality of the highlighting to enable users to turn off highlighting, or to enter a new term to be highlighted in place of the one passed from the search results page.  There are some situations where highlighting is failing to work, though.  I think this is a character encoding issue that was encountered in the old site some months ago.  It’s an issue with both the old site and the new one, so it’s not something my redesign has introduced.  It will need to be sorted at some point though.

In addition to the search term highlighting I implemented the options to view and download plain text versions of the documents and I also reworked the ‘view document information’ page.  Previously this was a separate page but instead I’ve made all the information appear in a ‘dialog’ style overlay.  The information is actually just located in a ‘div’ element in the page so the ‘print’ version of the CSS will be able to print all of this information out ok.  The old version of the ‘info’ page included a considerable amount of information that wasn’t actually all that useful – e.g. every type of ‘text medium’ was listed, including those that were not applicable – the not applicable ones were listed with ‘false’ after them.  This (in my opinion) really cluttered up the information and made it difficult to pinpoint the useful data, so I’ve got rid of all of the ‘false’ rows now.

There’s still a lot to do for the document page, specifically implementing the display of audio and video files.  And I’ll tackle this next week.