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Opinions and thoughts needed. Is it possible, or a complete waste of time to try this?  RSS feed

 
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So, I created my first working GUI program that I only initially wanted to use to add to GitHub to show I know how to create GUI programs that function properly.  It looks like the pictures below.
However, a lot of people thought it was a fascinating idea vs many small camp groups writing their cabins on pen and paper, or a traditional drag and drop to cabin folders, so I decided to try and see if any camps wanted to use it, as it puts the campers in age order,  and allows assigning cabins with a few mouse clicks and a printable list, and has error checking to block a boy from being assigned to a girl cabin or vice versa, and warning alerts if about to assign campers to cabins outside their age boundaries.  Using it myself, I assigned 40 campers in about a minute that passed all the error checks.  

However, one problem is that it doesn't do one task that the slower working programs do, which is creating a special needs report by group.  Most of them have registration through a camp service, and they have them loaded in the database that links to the groups they are in.

What I can do for them for the assignments is simply have them copy and paste the first and last name as well as birth date and gender, but I haven't come with an idea for it to create a special needs report in way that didn't require them to input it in for each and every camper or have to copy and paste the data to be extracted one by one which would take more time than their current method of assigning cabins.  

What my idea was, and I'm not sure if this is possible, would be for them to have a word or txt file to export or copy and paste their entire special needs report to if it should exist, and buffering each string after the name matches the first and last name of a camper on the master ArrayList, importing the records as a String and then stopping when it gets to something that matches another name in the ArrayList.  Or possibly stopping after it has x number of characters of blank space, and then looking for another String in the file that matches a name on the list.

I've use a StringBuffer before, but it was just for MadLibs, where it stops between two [] and prompts the user to enter a verb, adjective, noun, etc.  


If it's not possible to do something like that in a practical manner where the user doesn't have to put in more trouble than it's worth, then I'll just can the project or use it for a low budget outing group not wanting to spend a lot of money on a registration web service unless I decide to make my own web application someday to compete with them and enter to a database, and try to sell as a more cost effective option.


So what it would look like is something like this....


Special Needs Report

//Copy and paste entire report to text or word generate by their camp service....


Camper:  Tim Jones

Uses an inhaler for asthma, will need to take frequent breaks on hikes.  

Camper:  Bob Williams

Has frequent allergies, will need to take medicine at morning and night to avoid sneezing and congestion




It would start at reading the first and last name and if it matches both of those strings it will enter them into a notes variable.  The String would end once it detects a lot of white space.  

Once the cabin is loaded, a printable list would pop up for every camper assigned to that cabin.

cabin-assigner-main.png
[Thumbnail for cabin-assigner-main.png]
assign-cabins.png
[Thumbnail for assign-cabins.png]
 
Nathan Milota
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Some more pics of the program
list-by-name.png
[Thumbnail for list-by-name.png]
add-camper.png
[Thumbnail for add-camper.png]
 
Marshal
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Is this a Summer camp? I think those lurid colours could cause instant blindness in Summer if users don't wear dark sunglasses
 
Nathan Milota
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:Is this a Summer camp? I think those lurid colours could cause instant blindness in Summer if users don't wear dark sunglasses



Well, if the only thing keeping people from using it is the colors, that cam be fixed in 2 minutes.  I personally don't like white and gray business type programs.  They're boring and don't have any sensory stimulation.

Now, back to the string buffering....
 
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Could we get some clarification on how these special needs categories are being stored? I was thinking maybe you could store a map with the Key being the camper name and value being the special reqs.Then you could either print that directly or translate it to camper object to print all their info? If its in a comma delimited text file this could be easy but other storage methods take more work.

-Zach
 
Nathan Milota
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The campers are objects of the Camper class.  I was thinking of storing them as a String variable for each object.  Creating each string as blank to start, and then adding them.  If camper,getFirstName () && camper.getLastName matches those two words after a minimum of 2 lines of white space, or maybe x amount of blank chars, add the text after as camper.setSpecialNeedsNotes ().  

Possible?
 
Zach Rode
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That's definitely possible. I would worry about the precision of your splitting algorithm though. What happens if you have 10 Lines of whitespace on accident? If you have control over the input file with the special reqs their could be much easier way to split it up that give you more manageable chunks
 
Nathan Milota
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Zach Rode wrote:That's definitely possible. I would worry about the precision of your splitting algorithm though. What happens if you have 10 Lines of whitespace on accident? If you have control over the input file with the special reqs their could be much easier way to split it up that give you more manageable chunks



What about a message dialog stating the last camper that was uploaded and it there is still text after that doesn't match a name, to ask them to fix the file and retry?
 
Zach Rode
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Sure that's possible with an exception but I would also recommend designing your software towards being error-proof instead of asking the user to fix it. The end goal is always the best product for the end user. Sometimes you can't avoid some workarounds like that but often you can.

-Zach
 
Campbell Ritchie
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Kenneth Milota wrote:. . . white and gray [are] boring . . .

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!
 
Nathan Milota
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:

Kenneth Milota wrote:. . . white and gray [are] boring . . .

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!



I don't get the joke.
 
Campbell Ritchie
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I just thought it was funny that you considered white and grey boring.
 
Nathan Milota
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Campbell Ritchie wrote:I just thought it was funny that you considered white and grey boring.



I guess being on the autism spectrum, I like to see programs that are colorful and appealing to look at, in which I chose a combination appealing to me.  If the color is the only objection to using my program though, that can be changed.
 
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One can have an option to change the look and feel or colors in this case, based on a user's choice  (a user's choice thru preferences).
 
Marshal
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As far as the colours go, what's important is what the eventual users of the program think about them. It's possible you might get some negative reactions from them, and if that happens it's not hard to change them. And as you say, the choice of colours is the least of your problems right now.
 
Nathan Milota
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I'm not really sure how this turned into a conversation about colors.  I can't imagine anyone would choose to not use a helpful program simply for not liking the colors.  
 
Paul Clapham
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You might be surprised at how people act. They can be distracted by the most irrelevant-seeming things. But yeah... there's no reason to obsess about colours right now. So, how are you doing with your design? Do you have questions which are still unanswered?
 
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I've written a bunch of simple utility program's that have simple GUIs that look a lot alike.  I've given them all different background colors to help me easily recognize them.
 
Nathan Milota
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I found out from my friend who does out medical work at camp that the medical reports are generated excel through our registration service, so I'm asking them to maybe give me a blank copy of that so I can generate a cabin medical and special needs report.  The service has a terrible cabin assigning program, but I imagine they are a cheaper service, as Camp Minder has one better than mine, but they cost around 5 grand USD to use.  
 
Prasad Saya
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Norm Radder wrote:I've written a bunch of simple utility program's that have simple GUIs that look a lot alike.  I've given them all different background colors to help me easily recognize them.



What kind of programs are these? I am very curious to know and can I see some screenshots and stuff like that?
 
Norm Radder
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can I see some screenshots  


Here are a bunch of them.

Build a Doit batch file - creates command lines for a filtered list of files
Change file's date
Rename files
Get a file from URL
Search files' contents
Check classpath
Search for files location
Execute java programs in one JVM
Create thumbnail images for a folder of images
SimpleUtilitiesGUI.png
[Thumbnail for SimpleUtilitiesGUI.png]
 
Prasad Saya
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Thanks for sharing!
 
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