Byte sized coding

Another nice aspect of test driven development: you can code nice nuggets of usable code. If you have the tests assuring everything is stable, you can — and should — commit often. I find it efficient and effective designing my workload around this, aiming to add just one new piece of useful functionality. Never more than a spot. (Or something may happen, you never know what.)

It keeps the code simple in your head. Complexity kills. Simplicity rules. And keeping it simple means it doesn’t take too long, so it isn’t an imposition on your life. And so it is with revision 175 of the forces.forms javscript library, introducing initial support for custom form validation (based on setCustomValidity from the HTML 5 spec).

And truly, that’s enough for a light coding session.

Go fish!

We talk about fishing a bit at work — we did refresh the website for purchasing stocked impoundment permits (SIPS, they are for recreational fishing in Queensland dams) early in the year. Isn’t that form pretty!?

In July, I started some wireframes for a new potential website: an online fishing diary. At the moment, recreational fishers can opt in to the diary scheme and keep a logbook of species they catch. These volunteers contribute meaningfully to fisheries management, as I understand it. Nice work citizens! We had hopes this would be an interesting new service. It has some relationship to the SIPS of course, but even more potential as a citizen engagement (or e-engagement, e-government, social networking etc.) For anglers. Smart Service is big into egovernment and engagement, particularly on the GetInvolved website. Yes the online fishing diary seemed ideal.

Here’s some of the mockups, showcasing the initial exploration I began around collecting the diary entries:

A bit like surveys, but trying to really engage, you know? Rather than simply recording data, making it a bit more fun and competitive, maybe even educational. Does data have to be dry and dull? Can you see people that love fishing enjoying typing data into websites? Let’s take a leaf from gaming — people love stats and achievements!

Sadly it was canned. Boo hiss! I’ve been meaning to write this eulogy since then.

Alas ye online fishing diary, put aside before you truly had a chance to shine.