Vacation, Geeking, Code, and MySQL

1 09 2008

I think I just made up for my lack of productivity toward the end of last week.
Database Fixes
I had been totally stymied by a problem in the CONGO rewrite – how to handle state of a registrant in a way that didn’t involve scanning history logs and essentially replaying an audit each time. The real stumbling block was defining exactly what states a registrant could be in.
Going by a recent event, it appears there really is a situation where someone may have signed up to work up to attending an event, but hadn’t actually completed the registration yet. In early version of CONGO, we called this ‘subscribed’. It caused all sorts of havoc in the larger events, because there should never have been a situation where someone was subscribed, but not registered.
Cept, it kept happening. The counts of people subscribed compared to the counts of people registered would drift, but in weird ways, and also in ways that were hard to source, due to the funky way CONGO v1 was calculating state of the registrant.
All of this is going away now, with a directly updated and maintained reg_state table that underwent some major surgery tonight. I introduced reg_state to help with this ‘what is the current situation of this person’ question that arises constantly. Apparently, though, I never quite completed tuning it. To wit:
o The table was a MyISAM table, rather than InnoDB
o It had no foreign key indexes at all
o It was not tracking subscription status at all (the logic was ‘if they were in the table, they were subscribed’
Etc etc. That’s all fixed now, and logic was introduced to automatically toss the registrant into the reg_state table whenever they were looked up in the current event. So they’re added, but NOT subscribed, that can be done later, but their state is no longer non-deterministic.
Layout Schmayout. Just show it
Well, not so much. The ShowRegistrants.jsp file may be my number-one edited file in the whole project. It’s the one that determines what the ‘registrant zoom’ screen looks like – probably the most viewed page in CONGO. And I keep fiddling with it. I’m currently trying to cut down the number of pushbuttons on it, and organize them in a useful way. It’s frustrating work, because I’m not really a UI designer. I’m sure I’ll good solid feedback from the CONGO power users out there. I hope ya’ll like it. *worry*.
The next step is attaching the reworked status display with functions (like ‘subscribe’ ‘register’ and ‘print badge’). These new hooks really change the workflow of the application, but I think it’ll be for the better.
Unfortunately, I’ve just gotten a poke that the next major event to use CONGO may be going live in about 10 weeks with pre-registration, so I have a hard deadline now for when v2 really needs to at least be in basic useful form. I really don’t want to deploy the old version again, so maybe this is a good kick in the pants to work toward a functional version in a reasonable timeframe.
Yeah, but… Vacation?
So, I did mention vacation up there. This weekend I’ve been up at the house in Maine with the family and the water and the woods. I suppose it helped to get away from the code for a few days, because sitting down tonight definitely got things rolling again. It’s the last ‘official’ day of the summer-vacation-house season, so we did things like pull the sailboat and power boat out of the water, put the docks away for the winter, and cleaned out the freezer. There’s always some meloncholy associated with labor day because of this. The weekends spent up here during the summer are great, and we had a wonderful time this summer. On the flipside, we’ll start having weekends back at home, which will primarily be taken up with packing for the move to Mosaic in a month or two, but I’ll still miss the mornings waking up to loons calling and the calm still lake out our windows.

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2 responses

1 09 2008
Lisa

I’m glad that you’re working on rejiggering this second of CONGO. It’s needed some serious love.

23 09 2008
Craig Ragland

Dave,
Marilyn and I are really pleased that you’re working on Congo v2. We’ve been exploring v1 and ran into one navigation bug after the next that made it really frustrating and hard to understand whether this is a tool that Marilyn can really use to effectively meet our needs for 2009… we’re really rooting for you and hope to join the Dave fan club!
Craig

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