Plea

About eighteen months ago I started writing a piece of software. It was aimed at people wanting to record their diabetes measurements. It was also aimed at getting my tech skills back up to speed.

I wrote the app originally to run on Windows PCs, as a desktop app. So, you had to install it to use it. Once installed, it never touched the internet at all. Why? It was a technical decision, these were basically the technologies I knew best.

As time went by I got this product into a state where I could release it to the world. I decided to call the product Diem, set the branding accordingly, and went about finding an appropriate domain name.

I settled on http://www.diemware.com.

but I was never 100% sure. The obvious choice, diem.com, wasn’t available. I invented the pseudonym Diem Solutions – might be a good name is ever I set up another business – but diemsolutions.com isn’t available either. So, complete with misgivings, I rented the name for a year.

Fast forward about 10 months. The rental on this domain name is up in January. In the meantime, I have been working on a web-based version of the same app, which is nearing completion. Again, to bring myself up-to-speed with the technology. In fact, I was going to post a short demo video on here, but so far my video-creation skills have let me down. I’m umming and erring at the moment about whether/how I can get this web-based app live. So, the bottom line is that I want to maintain some kind of web site going forward. But I’m still not sure about that web site name – whether to just renew the existing name, or to go with something else.

Does anybody have any thoughts or suggestions?

My thought is that if I do change the name of the site, I want it to stay something.com. Just because the app itself is international, and .com is the international, commercial domain name suffix. I want to keep the name as a .com rather than a .org because whilst I’ve written this app as a freebie, I may write more commercial things in the future. Lastly, I like .com because it is the most recognisable suffix of them all – I don’t want to go with a suffix that no-one has ever heard of!

Work Progress

It’s funny, my web application (under development) stopped working yesterday. I was just about to look at a new library called SignalR. Normally, a browser requests a page, and the server serves a page. End of. This technology allows the server to keep sending updates to the browser. It’s possible to spoof this using older technologies, but… I want to use current.

I took the chance to upgrade a few bits and pieces, and this was what did for me. The application uses something called Bootstrap (makes the display fit automatically when it comes to computers, tablets, phones etc.) and I suspected this immediately. In the end, I built a “template” app, and compared the two side-by-side. The first place I looked was my code – I thought I might have edited out a crucial line, say, and I never was infallible, even before! – but I couldn’t find anything.

The browser I use has a bunch on debugging tools, one of which tells you exactly what files are loaded underneath a button. Not just the (html) page itself, but and images, style sheets, or any other bits of code. I made sure I loaded each file fresh every time (browsers will normally store things in a cache) and noticed that the Bootstrap files were different to each other. So, I took the files that worked, and copied them to the site that didn’t work….and hey, presto!

I’ve tried to be brief in my description, but rest assured that this hunting has probably cost me a day, just as I figured out what to do next.

Something in my housekeeping one of the things I updated was Bootstrap, although I just glanced past it. I didn’t think that this widely-used commercial product would cause me problems, but it did. Having said that, I’m sure it was tested very thoroughly, and I’m sure it’s just me that needs to tweak my code somehow – they must’ve made a subtle change. A task for later on in the project, perhaps?

Sure enough, I must’ve started off on version 3 point something, and hit the button to upgrade to version 4 point something. I support as you go through a major release, you should expect changes. Regressed it back, anyway, for now, and am now good to go.

Changing Plans

Ha, ha, it’s funny how an email can change your day…

A couple of weeks ago I started doing bits on my new project. I had determined that it should be a web-based project, just because I haven’t worked on a meaty web-based project for a couple of years. I wasn’t sure what I wanted the subject matter to be – ideally I’d like a fresh subject but, if it came to it, I could provide a web-based equivalent of Diem.

I started sniffing around Microsoft HealthVault. This is a Microsoft effort, so will have decent resource behind it. It provides end users with a nice web site through which to store various health-related data, including their blood glucose. It also provides an API, so allows people to write an application, connect to HealthVault, and use HealthVault to store the data. One of the big things about health applications is user security, and the big win of using HealthVault was that Microsoft handled all that – it is already a secure site.

So I’ve downloaded a couple of samples, got them working, and earmarked some time to write my own noddy code, just to see how it all hangs together. HealthVault doesn’t support all the statistics supported by Diem, so another thing on my list was to discover whether I could store that data somehow. Fortunately, as it happens, I hadn’t got anywhere near that yet.

So I signed up and got myself a HealthVault account, only last week. I’ve logged into it just to poke around, but haven’t got into any specifics yet. Then, fast forward to this morning. When I loaded my email program, lo and behold, a message from Microsoft saying that they’re pulling the plug on HealthVault in six months time.

In some ways, a shame, because I might have been able to use it. But I’m mightily glad that they made this announcement when I’m just embarking on a new project, rather than a year into it.