I spent most of today programming. Yes, you read that right, I was programming. Not something I do much these days, in fact, something I’ve been consciously avoiding since finishing my Computer Science degree. But there are times when in order to go forwards you first need to go backwards. So I spent the day trying to remember everything I learnt about MySQL, and spent a good long while perfecting a script to give people access to a database of contact information for the Diocese of Chelmsford web site.
Actually it turned out to be less complicated than I was expecting. I ended up spending more time getting the visual components working properly than ironing out SQL bugs. Don’t worry, I’m not about to go off on another rant about browser compatibility, tempted though I am! The code is now more or less finished, and all that is left is for me to do some testing before letting it loose on the public, at which point we will have an online version of the Diocesan Directory, allowing visitors to search through several thousand records to find contact details for their local vicar, PCC treasurer, chaplain, etc. Pretty neat. But I think I’m most pleased with the interface, which is quite smart and echoes some of the styling found in Google and Apple’s iCal program!
Technically there is very little that’s particularly complicated about the database, since it’s just one flat table, no link tables, no multiple dependencies. I think actually the most impressive part about it is that when it comes to displaying the results it only shows what it’s got, and doesn’t leave spaces where the information would have been, which is achieved simply by placing each element in its own if clause.