Week Beginning February 24th 2014

Another week, another technical plan.  I spent some time this week writing a technical plan for a bid George Pattison in Theology is putting together.  The technical component of his project is rather less complicated than for Jennifer and Carole’s projects, so it didn’t take as long to put together.  I did still need to spend some time reading through the project material, meeting with George, writing the plan and firing off a few emails full of questions.  I also spent a little time this week following up on a few issues regarding Jennifer’s technical plan.

I met with Vivien to discuss the Burns Choral project and spent some time reworking certain aspects of the website for the project.  The technical side of this project is almost complete now and the project website should be launching shortly.

The rest of the week was split between the two big projects I’m currently involved with – the redevelopment of the Dictionary of the Scots Language and Mapping Metaphor.  For the DSL I added some further functionality to the website.  I added in the predictive search option to the quick search boxes, meaning that as a user starts to type in a word the website connects to the API and brings back headwords that match what the user has typed in.  If the user then selects one of these options the quick search is fired off immediately.  It works quite nicely and is pretty speedy, even when connecting to Peter’s test server in Edinburgh.  The other major this I tackled for the DSL this week was to create the XSLT files that will transform the DOST and SND entry XML into HTML.  Ann had previously sent some explanatory documents about the structure of the files and how aspects should be represented on screen, and also some sample XML files too, which was very helpful.  I used PHP’s XML library in order to dynamically pull in an XML file, an XSLT file, perform the transformations and then output the resulting HTML.  It works very well with the test files and once the API has been updated to include the actual entry XML it should be straightforward to plug these into the PHP script.

For Mapping Metaphor I began to get the actual website in some kind of proper order, rather than there being just a bunch of test files.  The website now has placeholder pages wherever a real page should go, a proper layout script that provides the layout for all pages and proper dynamically generated menus, enabling pages to be added and removed very easily.  I also started working on the search facilities for the website, getting a very simple quick search facility that displays a table of metaphor connections that feature metaphors with names (or numbers) that match the supplied text.  I also updated the underlying data, using the new sample data supplied by Flora.  The visualisations are now using 9292 rows (7151 coded as ‘metaphor’) rather than 5119 (4031 coded as ‘metaphor’), and they seem to be handling this increase quite nicely.