Emergent Task Tracker Updates

I had a couple hours free this weekend to hack in some new features to the interactive version of the Emergent Task Tracker Alpha. There’s a few new features:

  • I am now allowing non-US character sets for task entry. The rest of the application has not been localized, but you should be able to now enter and display your native language if it’s not basic LATIN. Japanese should work, for example. This is not a full internationalization pass by any means, and unfortunately users of bidirectional languages (Farsi, Arabic, and Hebrew for example) are likely to have some problems (Flash does not support BIDI text input).

  • You can now customize the alarm sound by uploading an MP3 to a web server. Type set alarmURL http://location/of/file.mp3 in the command line (CTRL-SHIFT-TILDE to get the console). You can use the alarmplay command to see what alarm is currently set, and alarmdefault to reset it back to the default. The location of the alarm URL is saved, so you should only have to do it once.

  • The current time cursor should now be displayed if the default starting time causes it to be out-of-range. This should help alleviate some confusion when the cursor doesn’t show up.

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p>This should help make the application a little more useful in its current alpha development state. For more information, see last Friday’s post.

Feel free to post feedback :-) The next thing I’ll be doing is probably adding drag-and-drop; I’m using a slightly different Flash programming approach than I usually do, so it’s interesting to work out new (to me) paradigms for old techniques.

After that, the big question is how to sync all the task data to a server database. I’ve never written a real webservice before on the server side, so I have a lot of questions about “best practices” to create a service that handles multiple transactions from multiple clients seamlessly and securely. I think my data architecture will translate well to a database (it’s designed to be reused by different incarnations of the PCEO tools), but I’m also not that well-versed in SQL and PHP. Should be interesting…looking forward to finally learning how to do this stuff :-)