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Dorte's Book Archive

26. December 2015

An application to keep track of my mom's extensive reading.

My mother is an avid reader and after she has switched to primarily reading ebooks, she finds it increasingly hard to keep track of what she's read. Recently she's had some experiences of starting a book, only to realize she's read it before.

The solution? Well, I attempted to provide it. Since she was already keeping a record of her books, in paper-form, all she needed was an electronic equivalent: an app for managing her books.

The application

The application is a web app which consists of the following:

  • A database to store the info about the books.
  • An object-oriented (PHP) code-base.
  • A user interface for managing CRUD.
  • Search and sort functionality.

In short, it's fairly straight-forward.

Since it was a project intended for the sole use of one person I had the benefit of knowing the exact devices and user agents that would be used to access it, which of course made my life a lot easier since I didn't have to care about fallback styling or any such things. It needed to work on an iPad and on a specific laptop, and in both cases using Chrome.

I needed to get some JavaScript going in order to swap out the background image for one that was cropped to be more suitable for smaller screens when the site was opened on an iPad. Also, in order to make the table with the book data responsive (always a questionable pursuit) I had to hide a few columns on the smallest screen size. This became even trickier since two extra columns for edit and delete links were added to the table on login. However, since she wasn't actually going to do any editing from her phone, we decided it wouldn't matter in practice.

A tricky aspect was the 'Add to Homescreen' functionality, which seems to have disappeared in Chrome for iOS for now. Not a big issue for this particular page, since all it took to fix it was opening the site in Safari - but on the overall, I really wish Google and Apple would patch things up code-wise. The current state of affairs is a pain in the ass, plain and simple.

In any case, I was very happy to get this opportunity to test out my recently updated control panel (now object oriented). This is the first site I've made with the updated control panel code, and it was so easy and joyful. I'm beginning to think that although my heart primarily lies at the frontend, object-oriented programming might enable me to (somewhat) enjoy backend development as well after all.

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