Week Beginning March 17th 2014

Another mostly Metaphor week this week, with a sprinkling of other projects added in too.  For Metaphor I completed work on the version of the website that we will be using at the colloquium next week.  This included an update of the underlying data that Flora helpfully prepared for me.  This new data upped the metaphor connections from around 9,000 to over 19,000, but thankfully the visualisations and the other data views available through the website seem to be scaling up nicely with the increase in data.  A lot of time was spent this week fixing some of the bugs that had crept into the visualisations and other parts of the website and I’d noticed over the weeks.  These included the ‘metaphor strength’ selector failing to work with some of the visualisations and the metaphor cards sometimes not displaying the correct information.  I also finally managed to get the ‘show categories with connections to both x and y’ visualisation working properly, which proved to be surprisingly complicated compared to the ‘show categories with connections to either x or y’ view.  I also tweaked the interface to the website in a number of areas, such as ensuring the ‘close’ button in the metaphor card pop-up stays visible even if the user has to scroll down the card to view all of its content.

The biggest task I tackled this week was to overhaul the search facilities.  Previously the search brought back a list of metaphor connections, but after discussions with Marc and Ellen it turned out what was really wanted was something closer to the way the HT search works – i.e. you perform a search and this returns a list of matching categories.  You then select one of these to view the metaphor connections within it.  So I set up a new ‘category’ page that listed the data for the category within three tabs (tabular, visual and card) as used to be found on the search results page.  I then realised that I should probably update the browse facilities as these were showing the tabular view of a category within the browse structure.  Far better (I decided) to instead link to the new category page I had developed and therefore give users the option of not only viewing the category as a table but also the visualisation and the card view.  I then rewrote the search page so that it would return a list of matching categories.  It isn’t that simple, however.  Matching categories are indeed returned (much like the HT’s ‘recommended categories’) but the search script also now searches each category’s keywords too, listing all categories where the entered search term matches a keyword.  These are now presented below the ‘matching categories’ section.  Finally, I added in another search option, this time to perform a word search on the HT data, returning any categories that feature one or more words that match the entered search term.  I decided to include this as a separate AJAX search that the user must choose to initiate as the search itself can be quite slow and in many cases wouldn’t really be necessary.  It all seems to be working rather well across all major browsers.  I enhanced the functionality of the category pages in a few other ways too, such as allowing the user to order and reverse the order of the tabular view of the data by clicking on a table heading.  I also started to think about what I would say at the Saturday session of the colloquium next week and attended a meeting with Marc and Ellen to discuss the morning session.

Also this week I spent a little bit of time on the DSL, although this was mostly spent in email conversations rather than any development tasks.  I also produced a big long ‘to do’ list of outstanding items for the front-end and I will begin working through this next Monday.  The other projects I was involved with this week were Burns, for which I provided advice to the Choral Burns project and helped with the upload and integration of new songs for the main Burns C21 website.  I also made a couple of minor tweaks to the cogtop website and attended a meeting for the SAMUELS project with Scott Piao from Lancaster.  He demonstrated the current version of the tagger, which is shaping up very nicely.