Tuesday, July 7, 2009


So, I was chatting with a friend yesterday and indicated that I was a bit sad because the next set of changes (modifying GmapPolygon to hold multiple sets of polygons/indicators and writing a new polygon color handler that allows for URL's to be set) will sort of make things ugly and a bit more confusing and threatens to mottle the design patterns even more...

The friend spake (and I paraphrase): "Don't worry about it, it's enterprise code. You go in expecting A... and you end up making A, which eventually needs B after the user sees it and decides it wants B-esque features... but you don't have the time to completely remake it into B, so you make it into a mashup of A and C which works just as good but is not as pretty. So just be happy that A-C is doing good enough and make it into B if you have time before the next deadline." We then went on to discuss how the whole idea that code as a start-do-end thing is more myth than reality... as specifications change and user wishes change and sometimes you change from linux to windows or the tool you need only works with a certain version &c &c.

So yes, The next step is going to be changing the GmapPolygon and the Grid Viewer to work with indexed collections of polygons instead of just one collection of polygons. This will allow for sequential searches (search for all the fever in the US... now search for all the nausea in the US... now search for all the poison-related cellulitis in the US... now do those again for all of Texas...) to be maintained and shown simultaneously on the map until they are explicitly cleared. This means the pinpoint visualizations will need to be changed so that later searches don't show up on top of the older searches (right now I am thinking of using rotating pins... so sequential searches start filling in a pin-wheel). The flot-plotting mechanics are also going to need to change a bit to search on region type, name, and index (thus, it knows to look for the 3rd search or the 2nd search). Eventually the selection mechanisms might also be tweaked to become more intuitive or allow for more specific searches... but right now it's just about getting multiple searches on a map.

I'm sure it will actually not be as ugly or unintuitive as I fear when I'm done, but it is a lot of changes in the name of niftiness,


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