Week Beginning April 7th 2014

I spent the majority of this week working on the Dictionary of the Scots Language website redevelopment and have managed to tick off quite a number of items from my ‘to do’ list.  I updated the entry heading that appears fixed at the top of the entry page when the user scrolls down.  I encountered a bit of a glitch with this because it was grabbing as its content the first paragraph of the entry.  Unfortunately due to the original XML markup some entries only have one very long paragraph, which made the fixed heading rather messed up.  Initially I tried cutting the content down to just the first ‘span’ (containing the headword) but then I noticed that many entries have multiple headwords.  Rather than continuing to mess about with the large number of possible first paragraph structures I decided to use the ‘html_label’ field taking from the API instead, which gives a consistent and compact amount of content for the fixed header.

Further tweaks to the DWL website involved making search results block level elements to give a nice hover-over effect and adding search results to a session variable.  The latter enables the user to traverse the results directly from the entry page and I’ve made a new ‘Search Results’ box down the right-hand side that provides ‘next’ and ‘previous’ options.  It’s much easier to navigate the results using this method rather than having to return to the search results page every time.  I also updated the right-hand options so that they appear below the main entry on narrow screens.  Previously the options were appearing above the entry which made it a bit difficult to access the important content of each entry page.

Based on further feedback from Ann I also updated the user interface in a number of ways, for example repositioning the ‘add yogh’ box and ensuing the yogh info box only appears when you click on the ‘i’ icon rather than on hover-over.  I also added a scroll bar to the predictive drop-down list and updated its functionality slightly so that the predictive search is triggered when the user adds a yogh.  Drop-down navigation menus now have a delay built into them too, so the drop-down only appears if you leave the cursor over them for a little while.  This means the drop-downs aren’t triggered when the user moves the cursor over them to get to other parts of the page.

I also created the print CSS file so that pages now print nicely.  Page elements that would be pointless to print such as navigation bars, search boxes etc are now hidden when the user chooses to print a page.  Ann sent me the content for the ‘contact us’ page so I’ve created this as well now, and I’ve updated the navigation menu structure to accommodate the page headings that Ann sent me too.  This has included removing the ‘Search’ tab, which I’m still not sure is a very good idea as it means the majority of pages in the site no longer have an ‘active’ tab, which I personally think sort of breaks the navigation structure of the site.  I also updated the styling of the drop-down navigation menus to make them look better now we have some real page headings in there.

Also this week I did a little bit of additional work for the Choral Burns website, converting a video file and embedding the clip in a page.  I also put in an order for a couple of tablets for STELLA app development and testing (a full size ipad and a Nexus 7) and updated all of the WordPress blogs that are under my control as a new version of WordPress had been made available.  I also had a brief meeting with Jeremy to discuss my current and future tasks.  All went well at the meeting and it turns out that Jeremy is continuing to be my line manager, even though he is now head of School.  I think this is a good idea as I work at School level anyway.

I also fixed a Historical Thesaurus bug that Christian had alerted me to – words within a category were not being ordered correctly – sometimes appearing chronologically (which is correct), sometimes alphabetically, and sometimes in any old order.  I managed to update things so that words within a category are always ordered chronologically.