It’s aliiive!

Posted on Oct 30, 2016 in Birding, birdsearch.org | 0 comments

Wbirdsearch1ell, for a project that was supposed to just take a few months, this sure took the cake. But it’s live at last: check it out! birdsearch.org.

I created the site 3 years ago, and even though very few people actually use it (I should probably have let people know it was there) I’ve found it invaluable for my own birding. This new version was a complete rewrite in React, Redux, react-intl with a Node backend. It’s still in beta – I’ve got a running list of bugs and enhancements to fix on github here. But as a first draft I’m very pleased.

I’ll write a separate post about the technology behind it all, but feature-wise there are lots of nice improvements:

  • Better UI / user experience. The site now welcomes you with two easy options: Search Nearby and Search Anywhere. 9 times out of 10, I found I used the site to keep track of what was being sighted in my neighbourhood. This let’s me get that info at the touch of a single button.
  • Simplified search. I moved all “advanced” features to a settings section. That’s where you find the option to search Notable Sightings,
  • Extra stuff removed. I removed the option to search for nearby hotspots. It didn’t add much, and the eBird website offers this functionality in a far better format.
  • Wikipedia links for all species. This is a rather nifty option. When you browse the sightings, each bird species shows a Wikipedia link. Clicking it takes you to a wikipedia article about the species. When I use the site to browse birds in far-off places I’m going to be visiting, I find this feature particularly useful.
  • Misc UI improvements. Sightings now link to the original checklist on eBird; all data is sortable (species name, location, sightings count, etc); you can filter locations and results by a search string to pinpoint exactly what species/location you’re interested in.

So yeah, check it out.

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birdsearch.org update

Posted on Oct 28, 2016 in Birding, birdsearch.org | 0 comments

birdsearch.org will be down for a little while this weekend while I move it over to its new home at Digital Ocean. Just a heads up. I’ll make a post once it’s all complete.

10pm Sat Oct 29th: yikes, not going fabulously. The site’s going to be offline for a while while I sort this all out.

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birdsearch.org rewrite

Posted on Oct 1, 2016 in Birding, birdsearch.org | 2 comments

Just a heads up that birdsearch.org will be updated in the couple of weeks. Rather than do a safe roll-out of a beta.birdsearch.org subdomain for the new beta, I’m just going to switch out the entire site. The site gets so few users, if there are bugs it won’t inconvenience too many people, but more significantly, I’m switching hosting providers for the site and it isn’t easy to have both running at once.

The new site is a HUGE improvement. I’ll be extremely excited to release it! The site is a complete rewrite in react, redux, react-intl, react-router and node. It also features a snappy new UI and design. I’ll post when it’s all done.

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birdsearch.org rewrite

Posted on Apr 15, 2016 in birdsearch.org, Blog | 0 comments

In what little spare time I’ve had of late, I’ve been reworking my old website, birdsearch.org. It’s a tool for searching bird sightings around the world which I’ve found staggeringly useful these last 3 years. I was originally just going to add a few new features (search filtering especially), but decided what the heck, let’s catch up on the latest React ecosystem, so it’s all being re-written in redux, react-router, react-i18n and other fun stuff.

No idea about a release date yet, but I’ll post when I get a beta out the door. Oh, and you can see how things are progressing on the github repo here.

Here’s a couple of screenshots of the spiffy new interface (behold: colours!)

birdsearch1

birdsearch2

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Update complete

Posted on Dec 11, 2015 in generatedata.com, Open Source Projects | 0 comments

Alrighty! generatedata.com has been update to 3.2.4. This was a pretty big update – the site hadn’t been updated in over a year (!). It includes lots of database changes, features and more. Please send me an email if you find any bugs.

Breaking Changes

This is the first time an upgrade has deliberately introduced a breaking change. I hated to do it, but it had to be done. The old Credit Card Data Type has been dropped. Please use the PAN Data Type in the “Credit Card Data” group.

New Features

Please note, the free downloadable version of generatedata.com also has this feature and everything else discussed here. Not that I don’t love people donating (sure helps paying the hosting bills!) but just so you know. :)

  • Data Set backups. For anyone with an account on the site, whenever you save a data set, it’ll automatically make a backup of it. It retains the last 200 edits you make to a data set. So, in case you accidentally mess something up, you can just browse the old saved versions to get it back.
  • Configurable Plugins. Over time, the plugin list have grown, and some aren’t going to be as useful to some people as others. So now, when you log into the site you’ll see a new Settings tab. There, you can uncheck whatever Data Types, Export Types and Country-specific plugins you don’t want.
  • New Plugins & more country data. Chile and Sweden have been added to the country list, and there are few more plugins, most country-specific.
  • Bug fixes. Lots!

Anyway, enjoy. As mentioned, send me an email if you spot anything wonky.

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generatedata.com pending update

Posted on Dec 6, 2015 in generatedata.com, Open Source Projects | 0 comments

Just a heads up, I’ll be updating the public generatedata.com site soon. Hopefully tonight, but no promises: I don’t want to rush it. The live site has been running an old version of the script for some time now (3.1.4 from Sept of last year). There have been a lot of improvements since then, so this’ll mean a pretty big update.

[EDIT: Gah, abort! Bug found. I’m going to need to release a new generate data build first before returning to the main website].

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generatedata 3.2.2

Posted on Nov 15, 2015 in generatedata.com, Open Source Projects | 0 comments

Yesterday I released a new version of generatedata. It’s been in development off and on for several months, so it’s nice to see it launched.

Today I’m going to wade through the list of issues that have piled up and fix the most significant ones, so expect a bug fix release to come out pretty fast.

Then… definitely time to update the website! That’s gotten pretty out of date.

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generatedata.com site bug

Posted on May 26, 2015 in generatedata.com, Open Source Projects | 4 comments

So this is strange. The last 24 hours or so I’ve noticed that the generatedata.com website sometimes fails to load. The JS errors don’t make terribly much sense, it’s like the JS isn’t fully loading sequentially. I haven’t changed the code in several months.

Seems like it’s local to Chrome only. Firefox seems fine. I’m going to monitor it – possibly it’s a Chrome issue that was introduce in 44.x.

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