Week Beginning 21st March 2016

It’s a short week due to the Easter weekend, but I still managed to squeeze in quite a lot of work.  Most of my time was spent working on the app for the Mapping Metaphor follow-on project.  Last week I managed to get a test version of the app deployed to iOS and Android devices and this week I continued to add features and refine things.  Thankfully I managed to get page zooming working on Android as well as iOS this week, having been unable to get it working last week.  I found the answer on the ever helpful Stack Overflow website: http://stackoverflow.com/a/33207352.  Basically I needed to update a Java file to add in the functionality, rather than trying to do things with meta tags and viewport sizes.  Rather nicely it also adds in zoom in and out icons on the screen, which makes it even clearer that users can zoom in and out.  I had hoped to find a way to reset the zoom level when the user pressed on a link (e.g. when one of the dots in the timeline was pressed).  However, after quite a bit of research it doesn’t seem to be possible to reset the zoom level in Javascript based on a user interaction.  However, it’s not a major problem as users can still zoom out themselves to view the metaphor card that pops up.

I also spent a couple of hours this week trying to get some kind of ‘loading’ sign displaying when the user presses on a category in the visualisation but I’m afraid I haven’t had any luck yet.  The issue is when a category is pressed on there is a noticeable delay before the lines and circles in the visualisation update.  What I wanted to do was display some kind of animated ‘spinner’ icon in the middle of the screen after the user has pressed a category, with this then clearing once all of the lines have appeared.

While I can implement such a feature in general I just can’t seem to get it to work with the visualisation.  It’s as if everything seizes up when the category name is pressed on and the data is processed and it’s only after the data is processed that changes to the screen are made – even though I’m stating in the code that the ‘spinner’ should be added to the screen before the data is processed!  It’s most infuriating.  I’ve even tried adding the spinner then setting a delay in the code before the processing is done but this still doesn’t work.  Yet if I switch off the processing part the spinner loads fine.  I might return to this next week if I get any flashes of inspiration, but for now it’s looking like there will just have to be a delay and no feedback given to the user.

I have also now set up the App Store and Google Play store listings for the app.  This took quite a lot of time as I had to create lots of screenshots of the app – 30 of the iOS app on various devices and 12 (so far) for Android.  I’ll need to get access to a 10 inch Android tablet to get further screenshots.  For some reason I can’t seem to get the app working in the Android emulator, so I can’t get screenshots using that.  I also created icons for the app (based on the visualisation and a yellow ‘M’ superimposed on it).

I’ve added a page that lists all of the completed categories to the app too, and also added in some explanatory text, such as the ‘about’ page.  I think we’re on course to get the app finished and submitted next week, once Wendy finishes working on the next batch of data.

I spent about a day this week working on the REELS project as well.  At last week’s project meeting a number of changes to the CMS were discussed and I’ve now implemented all of these, namely:

  1. Parishes have been updated based on the spreadsheet that I was sent. I’ve also added ‘county’ dividers into the lists, with BWK ones listed first.
  2. I have added a link to the glossary Word file wherever elements appear in the CMS
  3. I have changed ‘Co’ to ‘C’ for ‘Coastal’ and have removed ‘County’
  4. I have added the new fields for sources: Full title, author / editor, record series, publication place, publication date, archive and shelfmark.  I have also updated the ‘browse sources’ page so that the table now displays title, full title and author.  Adding in these new fields meant updating rather a lot of scripts and it took quite a bit of time to get it all working and fully tested.
  5. Italic tags are now allowed in the source ‘title’ and ‘full title’ fields. Titles are no longer italicised by default.

I also made a few tweaks to the Burns website and set up a WordPress site for Carolyn Jess-Cooke.  I had a request for access to the underlying data for the Scots School Dictionary app from someone at SLD so I sent that on to her too.  It looks like they’re intending to rework this at some point, which would be good.  I had a meeting with Craig Lamont on Wednesday about adding images to the popups on the ‘Edinburgh and the Enlightenment’ historical map that I helped put together.  We went through how to add in the images and Craig should now be able to make all of the necessary updates himself.