February 11, 2004

Planning Baby Steps.

First of all, my adviser on this project is Professor Ray Larson, who also teaches my IS 257 class, for which part of this project will fulfil the requirements. I am also getting two units of independent study credit for this class.

When one things of neighborhoods, one cannot help but think of both geography and quality of life. What do we need to be able to convey those ideas over the web? what kind of system do I want to implement? Perhaps if we think of them as modules, that will help get my ideas down.

So, I know I'm definitely going to need an authentication modules (allowing unregistered comments might allow people to game the system, and I really would like to avoid that), a file uploading module (for pictures), some sort of administration module (to approve pictures and patrol the system), a mapping module, and a address module (so people can search for addresses?)

It often helps me if I can visualize what sort of interface I'm working toward, so I'm going to pull out my sketchbook and draw tomorrow. I don't guarantee they'll be good, but a rough sketch often helps me think of what areas I'm forgetting. I'll share them here when I get them scanned in, which will probably be tomorrow or Friday, whenever I can spare a couple hours in front of the scanner.

I need to start thinking about database layout, since I've got an assignment concerning that due...February 17th.

Here's what I have to have for that:
Assignment #2

The following information should be turned in for the preliminary design of your personal database project.

1. A general description of the data you will be using for the database, and what uses you might expect the database to have.
2. A preliminary data dictionary for the entities and attributes and format of the data elements of the database. You should have at least 5 entities with some logical connections between them. The data dictionary consists of all of the attributes that you have identified for each entity, along with indication of whether the attribute is a primary key (or part of a primary key), and what format the data will be (e.g.: text, decimal number, integer, etc.)
3. Produce an entity-relationship diagram of the database OR a UML diagram.

These will be preliminary design specifications, so do not feel that you must follow everything that you describe here in the final database design.

Guess what I'm doing this weekend?

(oh yeah, if you're paying attention to the blog, don't be shy about commenting, that's why I put this in blog format in the first place. That, and I wanted to have a way to look back on the progress I've made this semester.)

Posted by katster at 11:45 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

I've just thrown myself in the deep end, and now I need to learn how to swim.

...and that means that this final project is a go.

So what am I doing? I pasted the paperwork into the extended entry blank here, but a short notation for all of you who don't want to read that, or have already read it. My project is called (at the moment, if I come up with a better name, I'll change it) The Neigborhood Guide.

Right now, it's simply going to be SF and East Bay linked, with the hopes that I might be able to expand it. But for a test market, I mainly want to make it places where UC Berkeley students are likely to live, and that's pretty much SF and the East Bay.

Anyway, I'm probably going to write the thing in either Perl or PHP. (Other languages will be considered, however, since I've seen a bit of both Perl and PHP, they'll probably be the most likely.) The backend will pretty much definitely be a MySQL database, and I'm probably going to have to figure out a way to hook convert in with pictures. But that'll be for later. (Yeah, I'm planning this on a UNIX box for two reasons. One, although my main computer is a Windows XP machine, I'm more familiar with Unix, having ran Linux for many years before I went back to Windows. Two, if I was to move this off SIMS servers, which is a distinct possibility after I'm done with beta, it will be on a Unix box.)

Gah. This project scares me, and I'm hoping like hell I can pull it off without going insane. Oh wait, I already am. So lemme rephrase. I hope I can pull this off without throwing myself in the loony bin over it.

And part of that will be relying on people who know more than me to help me out. So if anybody feels up to it, and feels like following this blog, I'll be tracking my process. So that when I go to Ray on the 19th of March, I can pull up the blog and show the learning experiences I've had. And while I have to be the main contributor (it's my degree on the line, after all), I'm pretty sure I can get some outside help.

Sink or swim time.

Continue reading "I've just thrown myself in the deep end, and now I need to learn how to swim."
Posted by katster at 01:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)