Computers

Relax – Enchantment (Compulsion) [Mind-Affecting]

Target: Creature touched
Duration: 1 min/level
Saving Throw: Will negates

Well, exams are over for both myself and Kristin! I really hope that Kristin did well on her Chemistry final (though she probably wont know for weeks). She studied so much that I forgot that she was in the house with me a few times this week. She just held herself up in the computer room absorbing the textbook into memory.

I have trained Samantha on her new website and she seems to be pleased with the overall direction. As deployments go, this was relatively painless. It is such a relief to have both exams and this project over with. There are definitely some usability issues – but this is to be expected. What we do as programmers is not always easy (or makes sense) to an average computer user. This is the part of the project that I really love though. I take rough work flow, and make it better. It is a little technical, but there is a very human element to what I am doing to the software now. Hell, I enjoy it so much, I am doing all this pro bono.

I found an excellent website called Ajax Rain which despite its annoying name, offers a good collection of libraries that you can just drop into place . For a while I have been trying to find a way to pop-up a calendar when you mouse-over a text box that needs a date. A perfect example of what I want can be found in the short video I made for the Testing Center’s website. You can see it after I login, then click on “Register for an upcoming test”. I mouse-over a field, and the calendar appears. Despite its clean look, its implementation is quite wretched. It requires about 5 specific pieces of Javascript on the page to work. I found a great solution on Ajax Rain called “DatePicker using Prototype and Scriptaculous”. I can’t wait to try this out on Samantha’s website.

datepicker.jpg

Besides this change, I have also found quite a few libraries to validate a form before submission. Before, I have only toyed around with doing this with custom written Javascript. (And its scope was quite limited) I will be trying Dexagogo’s solution for validation this time around. For rich text input, I will be trying TinyMCE.

tinymce.jpg

Ironically, when I suggested Rich Text Input to Matt, he gave me a sour look. It isn’t real coding, it is improving a user’s experience. There is a mentality that I see people fall victim to all the time of “the code works, so I am done”. Its not a criticism, but a reality. A programmer is usually too focused on the code to worry about all that usability stuff. The only programmer that I knew that balanced both successfully was Peter. Joyce always complemented his work because it was so easy and natural to use. I want to do what Peter did.

Maybe I can find a job doing this one day, as it really is a passion.

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