News of the World

I blogged earlier about the “news” feature and how I wanted the “home page” to show highlights from recent entries such as recent life ticks, year ticks etc, but that I was struggling to generate this list on the fly.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is generate the news at the same time as generating the report rather than building the news “on the fly” when you start up the program. This allows the program to start much more quickly than the way I was doing it at the minor cost of taking a little bit longer to actually add your record. The other up side of doing it this way is that when you have entered all the species in your report and reach the final page on the “Add report” wizard the get an instant illustration of which species records are significant, ie if any species are “year ticks” or even better “life ticks” etc.

The downside of this approach that I was weighing up in my mind is whether the fact that I’m reporting the news as it was at the time of the record meant that items could be “out of date” in respect of the current state of play, but the more I think about it the less I think this is an issue.

At the moment the only news I report on is if a species record is a life tick, a year tick, or a site tick and I guess none of these go out of date (except year ticks when the calendar flips over into a new year) – a life tick on the 27th of January is still a life-tick if I see the same species a week later, likewise it will still be a year tick.

However… one thing I also want to report on is the earliest and latest sightings of a species. So long as I’m only comparing the current sighting with previous years’ earliest and latest sightings thats fine, but I guess in the first year of entering records you’re always going to be incrementally creating the latest

So in a roundabout way I guess the question is – what is news? What do people want to be able to see in the news (leaving aside potted “reports” which I’ll be moving on to later, such as regional ticks etc). My list of news categories so far is :

  • Life tick (already implemented)
  • Year tick (already implemented)
  • Site tick (already implemented)
  • Earliest sighting (definitely on the agenda)
  • Latest sighting (definitely on the agenda)

Anything else? I’ve already had some feedback in terms of requests and they all fall into the above list, so if anyone else has any ideas I’d be interested to hear them.