Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Am Decider, Hear Me RoR!

   I have finally gotten off my duff and pushed a little app to Heroku.  The UI has not yet been polished at all, and the workflow still needs some tweaks, but the basic functionality is there.  It's a decision support tool, that lets you create a bunch of Decisions.  Each Decision has Alternatives (which just have names), and Factors (which have names and weights).  Editing a Decision lets you rename it, and add or remove Alternatives and Factors.  Showing the decision presents a spreadsheet, on which you can rate how well each Alternative rates in each Factor.  It sums them up and shows you how each Alternative fares overall against all the others.

   Check it out at http://thedecider.heroku.com.  Let me know if you find it at all useful, or unclear, or whatever.

   Plans for it:
  • Polish the UI!  Those of you who know my career, know that I've usually done software that has no UI, or at least not one that needs visual polish (as opposed to a command line or an API).  So I decided to concentrate on the functionality first, as usual.
  • You can't get an email reminder of your password.  Frankly I haven't dealt before with having a RoR app send email.  I need to learn how to do that.
  • The rankings cause a submission on change.  The Alternatives are automagically sorted in descending order.  Either of these alone is fine.  Together, though, they mean that the Alternatives can seem to "jump around" while you're busy editing.  I intend to fix this by making you click a Submit button to submit any changes.
  • Signing in takes you to a home page, on which the only function link is to your list of decisions.  I'll make it take you there instead... and if there's ever anything of further interest on the home page, provide a Home link.
  • It's clumsy to have an Edit screen to add Alternatives and Factors and a Show screen to edit the Ratings.  I intend to just have the Show screen, with Add Alternative and Add Factor buttons.
   Any other suggestions?  Any other simple little RoR apps you'd like to see me do?

   After I clean up some klugy tests, I'll post the latest code on my Github repo -- what's there now is an earlier non-working version.