You Asked For It

The Flashback Track Friday Prompt graphic

This is my response to this week’s Flashback Track Friday prompt, where we were just asked:

What’s on your mind?

Okay. You asked for it. You know I spend my days writing computer apps, right?


Well, the current app is meant to record medical results. I conceived it for blood tests, but it should work for any type of result. The example I’ll show is for Diastolic Blood Pressure. I’m assuming you all know that’s one of two overall blood pressure values.

The app is basically written, though it’s rough around the edges. Just like any piece of writing it needs some polishing to smooth it out, before it’s safe for anybody to see it.

So Wednesday I was looking at this screen:

This is where the user sets all these results up. They type in units, a range etc. Ignore the actual numbers you see – they were just to prove that the thing was storing and retrieving values correctly. But this is pretty much how I want the screen to look.

You can imagine that there are probably 1,000 lines of code behind it.

Anyway, as part of the smoothing process, I was looking at the code the other day, and it is a real pig’s ear. Okay… not total trash, but badly organised. I thought of a big way it could be better. Pondering for probably a half day, I decided that the best thing was to rewrite the screen altogether.

That’s not as bad as it sounds – I can cherry-pick a lot of what is already written – but it’s still a pretty big task. It’ll take me the next week. But I want to get things right. I’m fortunate that “time to market” isn’t really a factor here. A week now will save me a month later.

I’m up to here:

and currently on my mind is “this was a really bad idea, wasn’t it?”

You asked!

14 comments

  1. That’s probably a lot more than a 1000 lines of code in my opinion. But yes the first screen looks…odd. Too much empty space in the middle of the screen can be utilized better. Gudluck on this.

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  2. Good on you for caring enough! My husband is in IT so I know from him how frustrating poorly organised code can be down the track. And I know what it’s like to take something on and then wonder if you have bitten off more than you bargained for. Tomorrow my husband has to do a presentation on EVs at an EV expo in Canberra. He is so nervous. His work colleague ask we d him to do it about three weeks ago and today he’s said a few times “I should have just said no.” But like with your code, I think it’s great that he’s doing it and I am 99% sure that he won’t regret it after. Where he might have regretted not doing it.

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    • The key with presentations is to remind yourself that you’re the expert ion the room. It’s a confidence thing.
      Of course, you have to be the expert 🙂
      But it is massively exhilarating to have hundreds of people eating out of your hand.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a really good idea, not only is it useful but it also informs the user, unlike so many apps out there which leave you more mystified than when you started

    Liked by 1 person

    • The maddening thing is that users should just be able to hit a button to suck everything in and our NHS do not conform to any standard export formats. There is a debate yet to be had here about who actually owns this data. The NHS believes it does.
      More practically it should be a phone app but my background is Windows, and my key goal is to keep my skills sharp rather than to create a world-beating app. I have a vague desire to port it one day but phone apps lack commercial appeal.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I didn’t actually know that you write computer apps! A few years ago I was trying to develop one for postgraduate students to prompt them to follow a process …. Sadly I did not succeed. Writing apps is tricky!

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    • I designed them mostly, but started off writing them. I want to get back into it but I used to travel up to London, and since the stroke, don’t want to travel so far. So I keep myself sharp with these apps. I’m lucky to be the right kind of age where there’s been lots of opportunity.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Make it RIGHT? You will not survive the current techno-culture. ( I do so hope we have enough history you get the drift of my comment?) — ASIDE: I DO SO hate what WP is doing of late. If there were another platform. I am looking, I am looking….

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes. That does not discredit their misgivings, but points up the sad fact that a good alternative escapes discovery. Because there is no alternative does not excuse the shortcomings of anything. The main thrust of my comment, which I sense you missed, is that your need to “make it right” is not popular today. Today is slap-dash and on to the next emoticon. You are, as I was called in the late 90s, a “dinosaur.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • No, I took your point. But I’ve made a career of doing things properly. Clients tended to appreciate that. They liked having me around even if they didn’t always take my advice. As a consultant I was paid either way.
          As the current writing I do is for myself, I have no excuse not to get things right.

          Liked by 1 person

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