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Happy New Year my friends. (^^)/
This is the first time after new year I have a free time to write my diary.So, I would like to share my story today. 🙂

December 18, 2010 (Morning)
I went to the WorldBank office (Siam Discovery) with some Thai developers to joined the informal meeting about WorldBank App Competition. I got this news from twitter and I though it should be fun. My purpose is to collect information about the concept, and conditions as much as possible. For this competition, developers from all around the world will implement application(s) by using World Bank database. This concept is so attractive to me but the bad news is this competition started since Oct 07, 2010 !!
That means we (all Thai developers) have only one-third of time to complete the work !

For me, I have a lot of works to close before new year and most of them were planned and I cannot shift most of them. If I join this competition, all holidays (Christmas & New year) will be gone immediately !

Why I have to let down all holidays ?
Because this is a rare great competition for me to gain extremely experience and improve my skills. So I don’t have to care about the final result and should focus only how to do this work on time.

December 23, 2010
After I made a decision, I planned about my work while I had travelling between workplace and my home. The main concept is always the hardest part for starting. World Bank provided a lot of data set about every countries in this world. There are various issues such as population, size, age, environment, education, politics, diseases, money and etc. All data was gathered from many trusty institus and I have to use some of them to make “a good conversation” to everybody around the world to understand it creatively.

The problem is I don’t understand this data at all ! (-0-)

January 1, 2011
The first full day of working on this project !I was confuse about data for a day ! (while I have only 9 days to finish this task)
I am not a technical user for handling data like this and my old skills do not help me to get any idea with some strange financial and medical keywords. I have to clear my head first what can I do and what should I do at this moment ?
If I try to think big, create a very large scope of work and too complicated, and I won’t finish on time. If I think normally, my idea won’t be different from other developers around the world too. So what is the best solution for me now?

At that period, I found the technical is not the major issue anymore (if you have enough time :P). I believe there are many many very clever developers in this competition and they can do a lot of difficult tasks in shorter time than I can for sure ! One think that I have more than others is restriction ! With this condition I have to think more than others to avoid loose any worthy minutes !
Then, I moved to focus on the my first problem why I don’t understand the data ?
I read, read, and read more for getting the idea about each dataset.
I think though and though how to make it easy to understand for someone like me.
If I try to do anything too fancy, it always create a layer of complexity without necessary.

Finally, I found my strength point !
I am a fool user !
and I like beautiful photos.

!!?

Why don’t I mix these ideas together to present this complex infomation ?
The brief layout of idea was constructed very fast in that day.
Less than ten minutes, the concrete concept was drawn on my notebook.
After that is to do it.
As fast as I can.

January 2, 2011
The most challenge task of doing new task is how to learn new knowledge. In my case, I have four new issues for this project. First I didn’t even know how to handle data in XML and json format. Second, I don’t familiar with codeigniter framework enough to build a website from my idea. Third, the idea to implement beautiful graphics to present a lot of data is not completed yet. And the last is about the performance of system (query data from faraway database).

January 3, 2011
This is the last new year holiday. I build the main structure and finished code to query World Bank database. Some indicators were selected in this day and I tried to use a Google chart api to visualize data. The result is quite nice but the serious problem is a big learning period to make charts different from basic patterns. Why ?? This issue is importatnt to me because if I use only simple chart like other devs can do it.
What is the interesting ?

So, I decided to design a better visualization by myself. And the best choice in this time is image chart. The great advantage is the simplicity for understanding like bar chart but more interesting by using little pixel images. The quantity of image chart is also a good point compared with another line charts to make user feel the scale of values. I decorated each little pixel image for each indicator in order to make sure users will get the main point as fast as possible.

January 4, 2011
As a normal employee in the real world, I have to wake up every morning, go to office, make a progress of work every day, have a good lunch and dinner, go back home and take a rest. I have only (maximum) 2 hours before I sleep to build my idea on working days and full day and half night in weekends.
Every night I wrote down every indicator that I read to my notebook and reviewed it on the way to my office. Finally, I selected only the 31 most interesting issues to present and designed the layout of question page.

January 5, 2011
I reorganized database tables for making the system more flexible. Some automatic scripts were added to handle new data by adding only new records into database. WYSIWYG editor was added to back engine script to make my life easier. In this day the core of web application was finished.
Unexpected problems always come to you when you want peacefulness. My Internet connection has a problem !
It lost signal so frequently and I cannot test query to WorldBank or upload a file to my server !
This events break my progress a lot and destroy my optimistic at all. I have to write code like a robber who doesn’t know when the connection will down.
(T^T)

January 6-7, 2011
Some of symbol icons for each indicator were designed in this period. This task takes time more than I though so much ! I started to save image links from Flickr (from Creative commons license only) for presenting with questions and video.

January 8, 2011
This is the biggest free time and the last chance to finish the product. I woke up at early morning, had a breakfast, took a bath and started coding, coding and coding. Most of symbol icons and pixel images were finished in this day. I choose only 31 most interesting photos from nearly three hundred photos I collected to present. Lightbox script was also added in this period to make gallery more friendly. Nearly midnight, the whole system is completed!
\(> <)/ – I like this feeling… Akkkkkhhh…

January 9, 2011
The last day of weekend. I use entire morning to checked and tested every part and made sure I didn’t miss something. Afternoon, I started mixing good photos with music to present the main theme of website. I intended to leave out screenshot of application and put only color into each heading topic to relate the symbol icons and main aspects. I choosed each photos and put it in the best timing as I can do.
About 7 P.M., my work was done. I uploaded video to youtube and submitted the application to competition and after I finished my post, the Internet was dead again !

January 10, 2011
After I saw other applications from all section of this world, I think my application is the simplest and the very innocent app in this competition. All applications are more fantastic and so inspiration. Some of them have the same idea to my first idea (Good luck to you). Some of them are incredible jobs ! and I don’t know how they can do that ! (> <)
Different ideas around the world open my eyes a lot. Some coding are so cool and bring many inspirations to me.
I like many creatives works,

My feeling at this time is..
Although my work cannot predict the future, cannot generate different chart automatically and have a fancy interaction.
I still like the simplest in my application 🙂

I believe my simple work can tell more.. to normal users.

Ps. Special thanks for all photographers in this world who give Creative Commons license for little users like me. Thank you very much for your kindness, I love it so much.

The popular vote for world bank application competition will be on this February !
I will do my best. 🙂

Windy12 ม.ค. 2011 เวลา 22:23 น.

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