Project progress 3

Since my last progress report, things have progressed at quite a steady pace. I’m developing the system using a mix of XHTML MP and PHP. This has meant a bit of a turnaround with my usual way of developing web applications. With the memory of mobile phones being at a premium and the size, or lack of more to the point, of bandwidth, I’ve had to go back to the days of building for 14.4k modems. Each page has to be stripped back to the absolute minimum needed to format it. However, I am starting to disagree with what seems to be the current opinion of using CSS. All the experts seem to advocate using inline styles as a way of reducing code and keeping it simple. But, this will actually bloat the code. If you want to set the links to always be black then for every link you need to add the inline style. I know it’s not a lot of characters but even so, you’re still adding to the weight of the page. What I’ve been doing is adding the styles into the header of the page and as each is only there once, it keeps the page weight down – maybe I should write a tutorial!!

Anyway, back to my progress. The pseudo email system is finished so users can now reply and email the administrator. At the moment they can’t contact a user direct unless they want to do a swap or respond to a request for one. It also sends an email to their email address telling them that they have a message waiting. With the cost of data transfer still at something of a premium, I never envisaged users being logged on for hours at an end and thought this would be a good way of notifying them. The registration page is complete as is a facility to send them their password if they’ve forgotten it. I’ve also recently finished the search feature so users can now look for assets they might want to swap. I’m currently working on the add facility. Adding the name, type of file and a brief description is fairly easy but getting the full file spec including path without actually loading the file has been a bit of a challenge but I’m getting closer to cracking it.

Things to do include the ability to unregister, modify the assets users put up for swapping and most importantly the process of the swap. My plan is to have this part finished by 29th March in time for the open day with the administrator’s system finished shortly after.

After a discussion with Chris, phone2fone is rapidly turning into a platform. With just a couple of slight mods, it could easily be used as a swapping game or even as a system for swapping or giving away larger items similar to Freecycle. Assuming I can keep up the same sort of progress, I’m gonna have a look at developing them also.

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