Welcome Home

One thing I’d like to have as a “landing page” is a home tab that will give the user a flavour of whats happened recently with regards their own updates (and possibly external updates but thats a topic for a later date).

At the moment my idea is a “latest news” section that will list “highlights” from the last week/month/year or whatever period the user sees fit. I’ve implemented a first pass at it and it looks like :

All the news thats fit to print

Again ignore the actual content – its based on just a handful of reportsand you can ignore the section at the bottom entitled settings as I haven’t put anything in there yet.

What the main part of the tab shows is a chronological list of reports, and also unique records, starting from todays date and working backwards. The calendar display highlights dates in bold where there is an entry, and double-clicking on a highlighed date takes you to the entry in the list.

Unique records are those where it is the only place within the selected timeframe where that species was recorded, so on this occasion its telling me that I’ve only recorded Arctic and Common tern once in all my records and you can deduce from the entry above it that the sightings were at Druridge Bay Country Park (hmm… maybe not that intuitive and I need to put the location name in as well).

If I then log a new report today from somewhere else and record Arctic Tern as well, then next time I look at the news list the Arctic Tern entry will disappear, ie its not showing whether something was a unique record at the time I logged it, but whether it was then and still is a unique record at the time of viewing the news page.

Double-clicking on an entry in the news list will take you to either the location report or the species highlighted.

I’m still working on other things to go in the news page – perhaps an entry for year firsts and lifers that indicates their status at the time of recording would be good as well. Maybe also milestones such as the 100th unique species recorded etc.

At the moment I’m battling with SQL to find was of writing optimal queries that will allow me to grab this data quickly so that the whole system doesn’t grind to a halt while grabbing this information which after all is going to be just a welcome screen and not a major function that people will use (and indeed I will also include an option to turn off the home tab).

A simple way of doing it could be to write a snapshot of the highlights of a trip to a history table in the database which will record anything that could go into the news feed whenever a report is added. This means that we get a record of what was a “first for the year”, lifer etc, without having to do complex querying but it wouldn’t give you a live picture of whether a sighting is still unique.

Maybe a dual-pronged approach is needed – do some logging of news as you create reports, which can be readily grabbed when you view the home page and some minor calculating on the fly for the more dynamic view.


4 Responses to “Welcome Home”

  1. Keith Dickinson Says:

    Things are certainly looking good so far. I like the clean appearance you’ve achieved, doesn’t look like a spreadsheet so far less intimidating. I particularly like your idea of having the world as the top level list with the ability to generate your own lists within it. How easy will it be to generate ‘sub-lists’? I’m thinking of Western Palearctic>Europe>UK>Britain>county level>site type thing? Only ask as the software I’m using allows you to add sites but is real picky about how it wants the details and you have to exit and reboot to be able to use the site for inputting data.

    • bedlingtonwanderer Says:

      Thanks Keith – the process of adding sub-lists should be pretty straightforward. To add a location you’ll just need to specify its parent region and a name, and there will be optional fields to describe its co-ords, terrain type(s), URL(s) to any relevant websites etc.

      Certainly shouldn’t have to restart the software to start logging in fact I should be able to allow people to start creating a report, realise that the location isn’t set up yet, enter the relevant data for the new location, and then continue on with adding records to the report.

  2. Grahame Says:

    So when do we get a beta to break for you ? 🙂

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