Thoughts on Rails

Riding the Train of Thought

Mailing List Manager – 28th Rewrite

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I’m rewriting the software for the 28th time. Now wonder I am doing it at a much faster pace and with better design and lesser bugs.

I follow the ‘survival of the fittest’ rule in my programming. Develop a few prototypes simultaneously if I have more than one idea (which I usually do) and then integrate only the best ideas into the next rewrite (not the next version… complete rewrite)

Usually the story ends in 2 or 3 rewrites, the software is good enough. However this particular software is pretty complex and I’m trying really hard to make it intuitive and easy to use with least clutter while keeping most information available at the fingertips. Basically, I’m trying to find the golden mean of simplicity and functionality.

So far I’ve been mostly successful – have learnt valuable lessons about GUI related stuff. Experienced, how some small assumption can cause nightmares to my users and learnt how to pacify them and sort out the issue ASAP.

My ML Management software has been used by Dnyanodaya Magazine for over 4 years now. It has been rewritten 27 times before this – because the magazine is run from home and I’m always with the crew – my parents. Now as I mentioned yesterday, another magazine has shown interest in the software, hence I am rewriting the software to make it customizable for the other magazine… over the years, I had tied the software with the name “Dnyanodaya” and now it needs to be loosened up.

Today after about 8 to 10 hours of work, I have the complete interface ready and am working on the internals. Here are a few screenshots…

Here’s The Member Address Editing Screen:
MLManager01.jpg

The Membership Information Editing Screen:
MLManager02.jpg

The Printing Template Selection/Editing Screen:
MLManager03.jpg

The Print Preview/Control Screen:
MLManager04.jpg

If you are wondering why the first tab “Select” is not shown, well it’s not fully functional yet, and these two tabs are already working great! I can say that my application is almost ready. Little work is needed to add the finishing touches and wrap up the left-overs.

There’s also a small button on the right hand side that says “Backup” … it’s a nifty utility (made using 7zip commandline tool) that backs up the database and saves it as a zip file to a location you specify. Also saves a copy in the application folder itself. Hmm… I shouldn’t be documenting the application on the blog, so here’s the

EOF

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Written by hiway

March 29, 2005 at 4:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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