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testing 2

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testing edit

testing body

Still going here ๐Ÿ™‚

So pretty much most of the coding is done and now the problem is attracting visitors:

  • I’m thinking of using Adwords but don’t know how effective it will be or how much I can spend.
  • I’ll try to place posters around my local Universities (there’s around 4 or 5 at least)
  • On the front page of the website I’ll put the most recently joined user profiles.
  • I’ll need to re-engineer the elevator pitch a bit.
  • As for the color theme, I WILL change it if I get many complaints about it, otherwise I’ll probably waste too much time changing the color theme. Yeah, CSS and logo-redesign is a pain ๐Ÿ™‚ especially when there’s so much else to do.

I think the 3rd point is incredibly important but so are the others.

I just spent the last many hours fixing bugs. I can’t imagine how many there are …
Gee I’m so stressed out with hardly any sleep AND I need to go have a meeting later today for a stupid University project. I’ve been threatened of being kicked out of the subject for not contributing enough to the project. BS. Why do I not give a shit about University anymore? And I don’t respond well to threats.

But before I have that meeting I need to go to my sister’s birthday lunch thing. I’m getting ulcers in my mouth >.<

So far nobody has joined the site yet … even though I sent out 50 or so invitations.

Ahhhhh this is sad.

Okay, this is the unofficial “pre-beta” launch of PenpalVoice.com. The website is still pretty unstable but is open to everyone (who is reading this post), for testing. If you are interested in testing the website go to: www.penpalvoice.com/penpal/

The /penpal is required for now. You will be able to access http://www.penpalvoice.com directly when the testing period is over.

Depending on whether there are serious security breaches during this testing period, the website’s database may be reset after a few days before the “official” launch. If all goes well then nothing will be reset (hopefully this is the case).

Also, there are parts of the website that are obviously missing or incomplete. I’m keenly aware of this ๐Ÿ™‚ However if you find any bugs please comment here. Any feedback welcome. Thank you!

The past 2 months have been incredibly stressful, trying to balance my University study with the development of the website. I suspect the next 24-48 hours will be also incredibly stressful as final features and fixes are added to the site for preparation to take it live.

Hopefully the site will be up within the 48 hour mark.

As to whether the site will go down in flames or gains a foothold, I don’t know and frankly I’m not thinking too much about that at the moment.

EDIT: It looks like the user profiles search is now working. However I am still trying to get pagination working. Without pagination, the search would be pretty much useless.

The screenshot below shows the top half of the code of the User.php file. The User.php file represents the users table in the database, and its business logic. Baiscally, it represents a user. You can’t see any of the actual coding but you can see the structure of the page ๐Ÿ™‚
Near the top of the page you can see a weird structure. That’s actually one large array declaring an HABTM (has an belongs to many) relationship with another table, and another large one declaring the validation rules of form fields.
I use the lightweight Notepad++ text editor, which has a nice feature where you can hold down CTRL and use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out. It’s nice for seeing the overall structure of the page. I also use it to make the font larger when I start to get eye strain.
code scroll

code scroll

EDIT: I want to show you one more thing. Here below is another screenshot of the bottom half of the same page. The part highlighted in the gray is the search method that searches for other penpals based on search criteria input by users. Notice how large the method is! (this is a bad thing)

big method

big method

Here I am, one day away from launch and the user profiles search for the site isnโ€™t working! LOL. Another delay? Maybe, but not for too long.

As I said before, Iโ€™m using CakePHP which is an excellent PHP framework for web development. Despite its awesome power sometimes you still need to bring out a custom mysql query or some other form of hack to get the results you want.

The user profile search is somewhat complicated, because youโ€™ve got to be able to search for others based on age, gender, and of course the languages they are learning and which ones they can speak. Definately not a trivial search.ย  Also, it can get pretty frustrating when the search returns so much data that it exhausts the PHP page memory. I absolutely hate pulling out hacks, but I might have no choice.

Deploy first, โ€œfixโ€ later?

The ‘Web 2.0’ website I have been working on is a user profile site for language learners. In other words, it’s a penpal website. So, it’s not exactly a new idea. As a consequence I’m seeking to differentiate it from other penpal sites, but until the launch I’ll have no idea if it’s been differentiated enough to take off.

More info is on the way …