MediTrak Update

Ehe splash screen for the Meditrak app I have just developed.

I finally made my latest app available to the public yesterday. I badge these things as “preview” releases simply because I don’t have any resources to test the thing properly, so I write my own scripts and test them myself, iron out as many kinks as I can find, and throw them out to the public to hopefully find the rest.

Continue reading “MediTrak Update”

Progress

Thought I’d post some screenshots of the app I’ve been working on. It seems to hang together but the next stage is to test it properly.

Another thing I need to do is prepare the web page for it, so I knocked up some ficticious records and this is what I came up with.

The main screen is split into two tabs. First, the meds you’re on currently:

and second, a list of all the meds you were *ever* on:

The way you add and remove meds from the list is using the “Add” dialog.

The neat thing about this dialog is that it allows you to part-type a name, then scurries off to find all matching meds in either the UK or the USA. I’ll probably add more countries as I go on – the EU is a prime candidate but right now, they’ll still be in sync with the UK. The drugs above, I haven’t a clue what any of them do, but they are all officially prescribed by our NHS.

This was actually surprisingly easy to write, but a real pita to search for the information. It is all publicly-available, but they don’t make it easy. One medical company quoted me thousands for just the UK data, and here I am bundling it into a piece of freeware. What good value 🤣

That’s basically it. It’s meant so that you can keep your own record on your own PC. But, if you do want to share the information with anybody, it has a PDF export function which produces the following kind-of thing.

So now I suppose I’d better start testing the bloody thing. Meh, tomorrow.

Curveball

I got the renewal through for my old domain name, the one I use to showcase some of the apps I work on now.

A couple years ago, I wrote a diabetes-tracking app for Windows, called it Diem, for no particular reason. When it got close to finishing it, I started thinking of a web site I could buy, to distribute it. As it happened, I haven’t really promoted it, although it is out there.

I had lots of don’ts:

  • The app was global, so I didn’t want a .uk domain name. My preference was for an established domain suffix such as .com.
  • While that particular project was a not-for-profit giveaway, they might not be in the future. And I wanted a domain name to fit both. So any kind of .org suffix was out.
  • Ditto, healthcare. That’s kinda what floats my boat nowadays, but I didn’t want to lock myself in.

In the end, I just branded the product as being made by Diem Solutions and bought the domain name diemware.com. But they were never names I was happy with. When it came up for renewal last year, if you remember I asked if anybody had any better suggestions, but no-one did, so I renewed.

This year, it came up for renewal again, and as soon as I saw the notice I put my thinking cap on. I decided to “rebrand”. I’m gonna let diemware expire and yesterday I bought the domain curveball.tech. .tech is one of a bunch of new domain names (like .blog) but I thought it fitted.

What do you think? In fact, I just ported the old web site to the new this morning, so you can tell me what you think of that, too, if you like. I rebranded the web site, because it was only a few pages, but I didn’t touch the actual app yet.

Just like Mr Bump, curveball is another allusion to the stroke, but certainly for hosting these apps, it’s just a name that I think is quite a good one. I tagged “Technologies” onto it because that fitted the suffix, plus there is already a company in the UK which trades as Curveball Solutions.

Teetering Progress

I finally had a chance to be taking this medical app idea forward today. It’s been quite frustrating because I’ve got a few projects going on which are all basically complete bar the shouting, and they all seemed to want a little bit of attention, all at once.

I pulled out the list of NHS medications (that’s a wavy definition, drugs and devices, commonly known as md + d) and stripped everything out, until I was just left with a list of names. Would you believe that, in the UK, there are 21,500 of them? I suppose I should add a just in there, because these meds serve 70 million of us. That’s just generic names like paracetamol, none of the specific brand names like panadol. Interested?

Oh, and this list gets updated every week, so I pity the poor sod… But I can’t imagine it changes much.

God knows what order these names are in – no doubt I’ll find out – but I just published this copy as a Word document so you can search and scroll etc. if the fancy takes you.

I bet to everyone else this is dull as ditchwater!

Next Steps

I mentioned the other week about my latest creation – just a tiny web site to keep track of COVID in my area.

I update this data daily, as fresh data is published by official sources. Only takes about twenty minutes, and frankly most of that is waiting for the official data to come through.

So ?I was thinking about what the next project will be. I think it’ll be another quite small one, centred around people’s meds.

The idea is just that it keeps a record – you started taking such-and-such on 1st January, you upped the does from 1 to 2 on 28th February, you stopped taking them altogether on 1st March.

I know, there are ways of keeping track of this stuff already, but I wanted to make it medicine-specific.

To this end, I spent today digging around the various medical sites, and now have a file which contains the name of every med licensed for use in the UK. There’s a load of superfluous stuff in there, too – so tomorrow’s task is to tidy it up. The idea is that when the user says “I want to add a new med onto my list”, then the app will give them a picklist, just to hopefully save them having to type.

It might be nice to write this as a web site, but the thing which puts me off is all the security nonsense – I want to concentrate on delivering the app itself rather than taking a big chunk of time out to worry about user security. So a desktop app is easier because that’s already taken care of. It might be something I could one day turn into a phone app, although phones aren’t my natural territory.

If it ever goes live, it will be free – I’m beyond the stage of life where I want to profit from stuff, and just want to help people manage their health.

So, that’s how I’m gonna be spending my days.

Why Didn’t I Just Leave It Alone?

It is just gone 5pm here and I have just stopped doing things for the day.
I had the bright idea after lunch of checking the family web site.

I maintain a web site under my real name, just as a “Hello, I’m ….” kind of thing.

It’s got a Welcome page, a short page about work, and a contact form. There’s another page that just converts this form into an email. There are two tiny other pages, success/failure to submit the form. So, all told, not a big site.

After lockdown, one of the ways I got back into work was by looking at this site, and I was quite pleased because part of the “looking” was to bring it up to date, freshen it up etc.

So, this afternoon, I had the bright idea of running my site through one of these “semantic” tools. For example, it told me that certain tags were missing from my images – those tags would help someone who can’t actually see the image. Or it picked up on a few missing tags, which search engines look for.

One other thing it picked up on was that some of the files used by my site were out of date. Not surprising, I last brought the site properly up to date seven or eight years ago.

So, I set about updating things.

Suddenly, the update process reported an error! I tried my site, and the bloody thing would not load.

I spent a while looking for what had broken things, but to no avail.

Now, the saving grace here is that this was just my “test” site. My “live” site is sitting on a web server, happily running away, saying Hello if anybody visits it. So why am I worried? Just because it is a pain not to have it on my computer, so I can tweak it.

After a bit of thought, I decided that it was probably a good idea just to create a brand-new site from scratch and copy my five or six files onto it. At least then I should be all up to date, too.

I’ve copied two of them so far. Four more of the bloody things to go. So that’s the activity for the next few days. Just as well I didn’t have anything special planned! Grrrrr….

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.