Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Making progress

    Throughout the morning I convinced myself that I'd finally choose which route to go - learning Flash and Flare or JSViz. Well, JSViz won. I know that in my last post I said I really wanted to use Flash, but that seems unreasonable at the moment. Maybe once I have the guts of the extension finished I could experiment with different visualization options. Plus, I figure that a lot people aren't very fond of Flash, and I'd have to spend quite a long time learning essentially two new sets of syntax - Flash probably isn't very similar to any languages I already know. JSViz has some nice examples that I should be able to cut and paste from, to get the general structure of how it does things. Also, it can create pretty nice looking graphs. But JSViz requires an XML file of the node data to build the graph from - Javascript cannot write to local files so I cant create this file on the fly. I'm hoping that I could have a standard XML file to load, with a built in Javascript that will automatically run and edit the DOM properties of the file to create the node structure that JAViz's XMLTreeGraphBuilder requires. After looking through the XMLTreeGraphBuilder source code I'm still unsure if it reads in the document with or without loading it, just scanning the lines. If it loads the document then my approach should work, however if it just scans the file I may be out of luck.

    I've finally worked most the kinks out of my test extension. It properly loads and displays the logged URLs, clears the display field when Clear Display is clicked, removes an entry from the database by selecting one in the list box and clicking Remove, and goes to the currently selected URL when Go To... is clicked. I'm having a bit of trouble re-displaying the list of URLs after one is Removed - I think the window.location.reload() function stops any function executing after it, since reload would reload the Javascript. But that's only a usability annoyance which I'll solve once the main project is near completion.

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