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2009-06-03 News report archive attack plan

posted Jun 3, 2009, 3:27 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Jun 27, 2009, 11:39 PM by Eddie Woo ]

About this update

It has been 12 days since my last noteworthy project register entry. I will concede that the speed at which my portfolio is developing has been relatively low in the last two weeks; however, I insist that development will be much more rapid after the final performance of the school musical this Saturday evening, after which I will no longer need to attend arguably time-consuming rehearsals.

News report archive - attack plan

Tonight I have developed an 'attack plan' for Mr. Woodhouse's news report archive. My goal is to produce a searchable hypermedia version of these news reports. Below is my plan, described by simple text paragraphs. Paragraphs in red text denote elements of the plan of which I am still unsure about (and hence may not be carried out).

The news reports are currently organised as Microsoft Word (pre-2007 .doc) documents, which I will need to re-organise as unformatted text (using notepad.exe) and process to re-introduce formatting such as bold text. I will need to convert to unformatted text and back because text copied from Microsoft Word is notorious for causing problems when copied directly to a WYSIWYG web editor (of which the Google Sites editor is an example of).

I will also process the news reports further, removing subtle inconsistencies, and using a consistent stylesheet - for example, the various levels of headings (Heading 1, Heading 2, etc.) could be used instead of formatting all headings as bold text (which also causes confusion as well as being aesthetically unpleasing).

A naming convention will be used:

Title: "Archive: Newsletter #### term # week #X"
Title (example): "Archive: Newsletter 2007 term 1 week 6B"
Filename: "newsletter-####-t#-w#x"
Filename (example): "newsletter-2007-t1-w6b"

These old news reports will be posted as new updates on the "News" section of the Maths faculty subsystem. Upon reproducing every news archive I have available, I will make a final update to describe the nature of these news report archives and to make a simple hypertext index of them for easy access (should the necessity for such an index arrive later).

As of 2009-06-03 20:25 I have re-created a few of the 2007 news reports as simple prototypes of this design. I have not re-created more due to time constraints, and technical difficulties (my home internet connection is currently throttled at the ISP level because I am 'capped').

Miscellaneous remarks - ISO 8601 conformity

People sometimes ask me why I write the date in the format yyyy-mm-dd instead of the Australian standard d/m/yyyy. I figure that, because I have extended this practice to my HSC IPT major project, it is worth discussing in my project register.

The format of d/m/yyyy is a nightmare for computer systems. Not only is the slash (/) not permitted as part of the filename in the majority of modern filesystems (as it is used to denote a lower level directory, e.g. in /woo/sandbox/blair/register/), but the very practice of writing the day number first means that, when sorted alphanumerically, files with dates would be sorted by day, month, and then year, which, as a sort, is useless for most intents and purposes.

In contrast, the format yyyy-mm-dd forces the system to sort by year, month, and then date when sorting records by the filename field alphanumerically. This can have significant analysis advantages - for example, if you need to build a sequence of events using a list of events (sorting is a recognised form of analysis according to the IPT syllabus). This is not just some strange idea of a high school student in Sydney; it is actually an international standard, recognised by the International Standards Organisation as ISO 8601, first published all the way back in 1988.

Admittedly, the use of ISO 8601 will probably not have any huge impact on a project like this one (although perhaps it will be useful on the extended site navigation hierarchy); however, I find that it is a good practice and use it everywhere I go for the sake of consistency. Everyone ends up knowing what I mean by the date 2009-06-03 anyway, despite some people thinking that I am American for it.