Friday, 28 March 2008

MRJ Index

Sorry folks, I know its been a heck of a long time since I last did any blogging... a new job and a baby on the way have tended to mean that modelling, and writing about modelling, have taken a back seat recently. My short-term modelling goals have suddenly turned into rather longer-term goals as I've realised that there are bigger priotities in life right now than building a model railway!!!

However, one project that has been gathering momentum over recent weeks, is the development of a new, web-based database-driven searchable index for Model Railway Journal. This started out as a desire to index my own growing Model Railway Journal collection and rapidly turned into a plan to create a full-blown system! There are a couple of (partial) indexes available but not in anything like a properly searchable format. I wanted to apply my web development skills to the task and kill two birds with one stone - developing a system that I, and hopefully others in the modelling community, will find useful, while also sharpening up my own web development skills in the process.

As with most things that I put my hand to, what started out as an apparently simple idea has evolved into a major undertaking. Initially I transferred all the data from Mike's Index into a spreadsheet, added some additional fields (page numbers, brief description, etc.), and then began the slow process of updating everything including adding all the newer issues not included on the website. This is still very much a work in progress but will be made easier once the new site is ready, since it will include a full admin interface.

The system itself is well under way, with most of the work at present being to tighten up the code and generally satisfy my own perfectionist tendancies! There is no planned 'launch date' as such but I hope it will be within the next few months.

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