Friday, April 22, 2011

Designing a Notes iPhone web app

"A pedagogical decision hides behind every design decision" -Dan Meyer

For the last few weekends, I've been coding in the early mornings while my wife sleeps beside me, working on a replacement for the broken built-in Notes app on her iPhone. My replacement is usable and stable at this point, and I'm just putting the final polish on the code to remove duplication, improve comments, delete orphan code, etc.

The tools I used to design this are the same as the diet tracker app I wrote for her to track her protein and calcium during her pregnancy: handwritten JavaScript, and Google's webserver to properly serve the cache manifest's content type. This was initially going to be a quick hack to learn the API for Web SQL Databases, so I could retrofit database support in the diet tracker, but along the way I learned a lot about designing an HTML Notes application, which was more involved than I anticipated.

This post recounts some of the lessons I learned, and the decisions I made between competing solutions that each had pluses and minuses. Some screenshots of the current product are available below the fold.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Emulating iPhone rotating buttons with HTML5 canvases

This is a quick proof of concept tested with Chrome and Safari (which might also work in Firefox... testers?). I'm using timeouts and HTML5 canvas operations to spin buttons, and some DOM tomfoolery to add and remove rows to the document's body. The end result is an approximation of some iPhone settings screens that make you unlock delete buttons before you can remove items.


Friday, April 08, 2011

HTML5 Web Databases in Chrome, round 1

New fact of life: To keep up with modern web programming, you need to get your head around asynchronous callbacks. To illustrate, here is a quick script I wrote to experiment with Chrome's JavaScript calls into it's SQLite implementation:

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Rage against the Pitocin-Cesarean Complex

(and how I wrote my first iPhone web app)
"So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign. I said thank you Lord for thinking about me, I'm alive and doing fine." - Five Man Electrical Band

Before rambling about my latest tinkerings, I have a small announcement: My wife and I decided to have a baby. She asked me not to make a big deal about it online, not post a broadcast "guess what?!?!" message on Facebook, and in the spirit of that I won't make flowery pronouncements here about the joys of fatherhood, or starting over at 40, or any of the hundreds of other things I would otherwise go on at length about. But there it is: I'm in love with a woman I think the world of, and at the beginning of January, with our third wedding anniversary near us and neither of us having one foot out the door or buyer's remorse, we decided to stop using birth control and try to have a baby.

By the end of the month, Liberty was pregnant.