Week Beginning 22nd September 2014

This week I continued to get back into the development duties for Mapping Metaphor and I spent a sizable portion of the week working on the project.  On Monday I met with Ellen to discuss the metaphor data and the plans she has for completing a variety of data related tasks and getting this data to me.  It was a very useful meeting and we agreed how we should proceed to record and share certain aspects of the data such as the sample lexemes and directionality.  For example, it has now been agreed that there may be two different sets of sample lexemes for each metaphor connection if the connection between the two categories is bidirectional:  one set for each direction.  I also completed my mammoth ‘to do’ list of outstanding technical related tasks and disseminated it to the team.  There are around 50 items on it and some of them are rather large (e.g. ‘develop a timeline of metaphor inception’) so I’ll certainly be kept busy for the next few months!

I managed to return to the actual code of the Metaphor website and visualisations this week and re-familiarised myself with the workings of d3.js.  I began looking into how transitions (i.e. animations between states) are handled in d3 with a view to updating the ‘rotate’ buttons on the website.  Currently users have to click on a button to rotate the visualisation 10 degrees left or right.  To rotate the visualisation more than that the user must click multiple times, which is a bit clunky.  I figured it would be much more appealing if the visualisation rotated smoothly for as long as the user held down the rotate button.  I managed to get such a behaviour working this week, which was very satisfying.  However, although it worked perfectly in Firefox on my home PC, when I tried it in Firefox on my work PC the visualisation often just kept on rotating endlessly, even when you stopped pressing the rotate button.  Unfortunately this behaviour also happened in iOS and Android browsers so I’ll definitely need to do some further work on this.  Watching the visualisation spin round endlessly is rather hypnotic, but not really a whole lot of use.

We had the first Metaphor team meeting since May this week too, and it was good to catch up with everyone again.  Almost all of the data has been coded now, which is great.  I got a few comments on my ‘to do’ list and some possible timeline approaches I’d been working on too.  I continued to work on updates to the metaphor visualisations after the meeting, this time focussing on getting circles included in the nodes.  In addition to giving nice ends to the connecting lines, these circles will hopefully server a more practical purpose too as I’m intending to get their size to update to reflect the number of connections contained within an L2 category.  I managed to get the circles included and have them change colour when a node is clicked on, but I haven’t quite managed to get the size updating dynamically yet.  I hope to get this working next week though.

Other than Metaphor duties I made some further tweaks to the DSL website as a result of feedback from users.  I also created a development version of the site that connects to Peter’s version of the API so he can test out updates to the API without running the risk of breaking the public version.  I responded to a couple of digital humanities related queries that came in and tweaked the STELLA Apps a little for Marc, who was hoping to use them for teaching this week.  I also helped provide feedback on Stevie Barrett’s DASG website, which will be launching next month.  It has come on a long way since our early experiments with the Open Corpus Workbench software and is looking really great.