The other day I ‘officially’ launched a brand-new demo of the RIT Schedule Maker. In all, it’s very very slick. It’s a pure web application with zero server-side processing, all communication going straight from the user to the data source. Lots of Ajax, lots of XML – it’s exciting. Doesn’t work 100% yet in IE, but that’s not my main concern, at the moment – my main concern was just getting something out for people to tinker with.
If you’re interested in playing around with it, it isn’t RIT exclusive, so feel free to hop on, plug in some courses, and see what happens. If that doesn’t interest you, you can browse a collection of screenshots taken of the demo.
And now for the big news: I’ve made a big decision, this summer I will be putting all of my time towards launching the Schedule Maker and getting Juniper Bay (my company) off the ground. This is going to be a really big undertaking. By the end of the summer I will be launching a full-fledged scheduling application for use by students at a number of colleges and (hopefully) businesses. It will be completely free, have a complete API, you will be able to export your data into any known format, and will use all the greatest tech available in modern browsers. Once this quarter wraps up, I’m going to update the Juniper Bay web site, start a corporate blog going (detailing the advances that I make) and really get things moving.
Some things developers can look forward to:
– Completely open API and documentation
– (Pending) Open XML data set for external manipulation
– Lots of Open Source mini-projects (Ajax Authentication, Extensible REST API, screen-scraping scripts, etc.)
– Plenty of updates during the summer and upcoming months.
To say the least, the experience is going to be interesting. I will be working alone, doing all the planning, design, development, and customer support. Not that I haven’t done anything like this before, but I just hope it works out. So, long story short, I’m really hoping for a lot of user input to get this off the ground. I’m going to be bouncing ideas through this web log and the (soon to exist) Juniper Bay one. Anyway, that’s all for now, I’ll keep everyone posted.
Sean Graham (April 30, 2005 at 8:13 pm)
John Resig (May 1, 2005 at 9:14 am)
D’oh! It took me a while to figure out what you were referring to – it’s fixed now.
Chris Lambe (May 3, 2005 at 5:47 pm)
Is the schedule maker broken? It seems that it never goes past the “(Searching, please wait.)” phase. I tried it on two diffrent computers/platforms.
John Resig (May 3, 2005 at 7:52 pm)
Chris: The issue has been resolved, the server is being incredibly flaky, sorry about that.
Phil Wilson (May 17, 2005 at 5:41 pm)
Andrew (June 27, 2005 at 10:51 pm)
Very nice looking app. A couple of things:
Going from a list view (the first view I see, with a listing of Colleges and subjects), to a detailed view (the second view I see after a click, with a listing of classes) is obviously “navigation.” So it feels really weird to see a big reload. Breaking the Back button at this point seems like a Bad Thing. Since you’re reloading virtually the entire contents of the page, and replacing that first list, why not just load a new page? Same with the Make Schedule page: to a user, it’s obviously Another Place In The Site, so it really feels like I ought to be able to Back button out of it. As it stands, you’re not much better off than those sites that say, “don’t click your browser’s Back or Reload button during the process.”
And “Adding a Course” is so quick it’s not obvious anything has happened. The course and icon I choose is replaced *instantly* by the one below it moving up. I’m all, whaaa?? And it’s all, already registered, yo.
Check the animation effects on TiddlyWiki, or consider using some of the DHTML from the Prototype or script.aculo.us library to help show something has happened. Might be a good idea to do something similar with removing a course from the added courses list at right.
John Resig (June 27, 2005 at 10:57 pm)
Andrew that’s an excellent point – I’ve taken a couple month break from working on the schedule maker, but will definitely resume here soon, so that I can finish things up before the fall quarters go into full swing.
I’ve thought about the ‘whole page being replaced’ problem and came to the same conclusion as you – since most of the page’s content is being replaced, is there really a need to keep it on the same page, probably not. I’m definitely going to check into that more.
Good suggestion with the Prototype library, I was thinking of using the same thing. I’ll be sure to let you know when I revisit all of this and make these improvements.