Saturday, March 2, 2013

Busy, busy. Went to Sydney and came back to Brisbane. There was a flood in one of those places, and the other was trying very hard also.

The fire map has been quite 'successful', in the sense that most of Christmas was spent keeping it going, tweaking it for the sometimes odd conditions under which it was used. For example, Fairfax local media sites  started embedding it, but their restricted column width was squishing some of the controls over each other.

There needs to be times where you - as the developer - should try to understand your user's dilemmas: they can't hack their CMS in one day to do special things just for my map to look better, those limitations are pretty hard set in their systems.

But I could change my code. Faster. It took the entire day, by the next smoky morning I had polished the app so it fit their iframe. It even detected that it had been 'framed' and offered a new menu option to link out to the fullscreen map.

The result - thousands of random people got a slightly better user experience. That's much more useful than a grumpy developer mumbling "but you're using it wrong!"

Fire season has mostly given way to flood season, and traffic has waned to almost nothing. I'll need to revisit it come next fire season, but for now its easy to keep it running. I expect a few feeds will break over the coming months as the agencies mess with their data in the 'off' season.

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