Week ending 12th August

Monday 7th August 2017

Finished off the formatting of the “next train” data so that it is a simple parsing exercise in the JavaScript. My lack of expertise is showing here as I have to go very carefully to ensure that I get things right. Also, I am having some difficulty working out how the Chrome  debugger works when editing code. It seems to have some esoteric rules and I haven’t yet grasped them all. I am tending to fall back on the old “edit – run – try in Chrome” loop that isn’t at all productive but ensures that changes get disemminated through the working stuff. It seems that Chrome doesn’t like you changing function names, nor does it like to changing some variable names. As an example, if I write myArray.split(“;”) and then change it to myFirstArray.split(“;”), it will complain that myArray.split isn’t a function! Anyway, I finally got everything tidy and I can now show the details of the next train. My next step is to have an option to instruct the backend to move all of the constituent parts of the train onto the new destinations and increment the train number. This will be tomorrow’s task.

Tuesday 8th August 2017

Today was, hopefully, the last day of actual new development on the tablet app. The “Update a train” function now works and it is possible to cycle through the whole timetable of trains correctly. The formatting took some time as I had to work on both the back end and the front end. The front end works by calling a “hidden” GET. Normally, a GET should not be used to update data but I had a lot of difficulty getting POST to work from javaScript. In fact, I had the same problem in the EMA for Tm352. As I am getting close to the cut off for development, I made a decision to use a GET. However, the get is fired by a button so the normal argument about GET calls updating data doesn’t apply. The concern is usually about exposed GETs being fired by crawlers, etc. but this GET, as I say, is never exposed so it will be fine.

All I have left to do now is to tidy up the presentation, which I am going to leave until I have made a good start on the 10,000 word EMA. That is the priority now. On Thursday, I will start outlining it and analysing what I can use from the TMAs.

Thursday 10th August 2017

I realised, when thinking about the back end code, that I hadn’t resolved one thing that I meant to do some time ago. After the last train on the list of “Trains” has been run and updated, the code changes the current train number back to 1 so that the list can be run again. What I had missed doing was incrementing the ‘time on site” for each freight car. It is assumed that the list of trains represents one day so once that list is completed, a new day will start, hence the cars on site will need to have their status updated. This is needed because the logic that assesses whether a car can be included in a train depends on the “time on site” number associated with that car. This is now fixed and once the train list is completed, each car will get that increment. When they are relocated, that number is put back to zero once again, ready for the next move. The number is ignored if cars are in a staging spur or in a yard as they are then regarded either as “fair game” because they are off site or as empty and ready for re-allocation.

My task for the next week or so is trying to understand the relationship between HTML and JavaScript for purely display purposes. I need to get the index.html page to refer back to the JS file for logo and railroad name ids, which are only found out from the login. So far, I have not had much luck in getting the inline scripts to function. I have one week to sort this and then I must get on with the EMA.

My tutor wants me to use a couple of his contacts as tester. Initially, I said yes but I have had to reconsider. I have lost a lot of time due to the overrun of TM352, my arthritis and hospital treatment so I really don’t have the time now to start interacting with new references and responding to requests for explanations or ideas when I have 10,000 words to write and neither of the proposed testers have knowledge of the  project domain. I hope that this won’t affect my marks but I will need to discuss it in my EMA.

Friday 11th August/Saturday 12th August 2017

Getting back onto the actual routing software, I had bit of an issue. I wanted to go back to a clean startup and found that the Excel files that I use for this were not the final version. I had a rebuild of my main iMac recently and my backups, whilst there, wouldn’t come back fully so I was in a bit of a muddle regarding the coherence of the data. I had to spend some time, not only correcting the files, but also changing the import software to add some extra features required for the routing.

This all resulted in time beings spent on, what might be called, unproductive work. Having sorted out the issue, I then started on the main project for the weekend, which was to get the actual routing software developed. I am running out of programming time so I have had to make some compromises with the routing software. I have, for this iteration, simplified some of the decision making processes. Yet again, my arthritis and other issues have interjected themselves with me having to cope with both pain and tiredness. However, I managed to put in a couple of 8 hour days which has got me a good way forward.

The coming week has three targets:

  1. Complete the routing software so that all types of trains can be created and routed.
  2. To incorporate any changes into the tablet software.
  3. To tidy up the visual interface for the tablet.

Once these tasks are completed, and I need to put 9n the hours to ensure that they are, then I can get going on the EMA.

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