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January 14, 2008

The Questionnaire

First of all, just to say that the first release of PSALM is out, and I've fixed that little thing I mentioned before. So please have a look, test it a bit, use it, distribute it, do whatever to it! Any feedback on it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks :-)

Download PSALM here

And now on to  the Questionnaire...

As a major part of this project, I am researching the current use of IT in churches. Specifically:

  1. What role(s) does IT currently play in churches?
  2. What role(s) could IT potentially have in churches?
  3. What problems exist in a church setting that could be solved using IT, or more specifically, software?

I have built a questionnaire that anyone involved in a church, or other Christian organisation, can fill in to aid me in this task. It will sent out to specific individuals and organisations already identified, and posted to websites that I believe will have users that can help. The questionnaire is NOT just for those interested, or using, IT, in church or outside of church. It is important that a wide spread of views is surveyed to gain as wide an understanding as possible within the scope of this project.

I will put together an online version asap, but please find the master version below. This is the version that will be distributed by post/hand when necessary. I don't mind whether the attached 'hard' copy or the coming online one is used.

If you would like to help, please do! The questionnaire will only take 10-15 minutes, and it is not even necessary to answer every question. Although extra comments would also be appreciated if you like! Your responses will be a great help to my project. 

Please complete and return the questionnaire before the 17th February 2008. Contact details for returning it are included in the questionnaire document itself. Thank you very much!!

Questionnaire: IT in the contemporary church

(added 21 Jan:) or complete the online version of the questionnaire at: 

http://www.esurveyspro.com/Survey.aspx?id=ad66fdd7-ed87-479f-9440-7b75fb1fc461


December 06, 2007

Prototype for first increment released.

Okay, so it's been a while since the last post. That's mainly because I've been working on the project! Term finishes in a few days, the progress report has been handed in, and the first increment is on its way to completion.

The progress report cannot be posted online until well after the deadline, so if you wanted to read that, you'll have to wait. It's not Christmas just yet ;)

But the prototype is here and waiting for you. Please be aware that at this stage, the chords & lyrics are not formatted as required. I have spent a while trying to display them like this. If anyone out there can recommend a way of displaying HTML that gets 'correctly' formatted with CSS (at the moment, the JEditorPane does not support the CSS code that I need it to), please do! I have looked around, but nothing could be found in a reasonable amount of time that would work and be platform-independant. This will be revisited, but as with much of this project, the priorities must be kept in order, so rather than getting stuck in details, I shall be focussing on the larger issue of the database functionality. Talking of which, the add/remove/edit song buttons on the prototype's menu do not yet work. Please remember it is only a prototype!

So here it is, Merry Christmas!: Prototype (ZIP, ~100kb)
To run this, unzip all contents, and run the XMLGUI.jar file. Do this either by double-clicking it in windows explorer, or at a command line (in the same directory as the file), type 'java -jar XMLGUI.jar' and press enter.
(It should work in Linux by the way, it was tested briefly on a DCS machine).

To get the program to do something useful, click File > Load Songs on the menu, and navigate to the folder that you placed the contents of the zip file into. Choose the songs-nocopyright.xml file, and voilá, a small selection of songs is displayed. Click them, search them etc. Please note that the search function can match some songs incorrectly due to the search algorithm implementation for this prototype.

If you don't want to download it to have a look, heres a peek: Prototype screenshot


November 17, 2007

Some designing of PSALM Increment One

Slightly overdue (I mean overdue in going onto this blog), here's some of the more interesting design work done for the first increment of PSALM.

PSALM - First module diagram

First, the  component/module relationships. Please be aware that this is not in any kind of standard notation, but is actually just a tidied representation of what I have written be hand in my grand A4 pad of joy. The key should at the top-right should explain the crazy colour scheme. The arrows give a basic idea of relationships. So, for example, the GUI (which is circular in the diagram for no real reason other than most operations run through it) calls the DB (database) Bridge component. The little arrows under some of the components just highlight some of the more important functions or sub-components.

I have named these 'components' because they won't necessarily constitute modules. If anything, each block is more like a 'part' of the program. So the external XML database is included on the diagram, as is the Setlist object class. I will also point out at this stage that this design is just a starting point that is likely to need refinement. This first increment is about getting something built that will be functional to stimulate further thought and then work. 

Next, we have a plan for the layout of the XML database:

<songlist>
<song title="..." writer="..." date="..." basekey="..." capokey="..." ...>
<verse no="..."> | <chorus> | <prechorus> | <bridge> | <tag>
Lyrics go here, [C] chords go in sqaure brackets [Em]
[D/F#] Sometimes chords mig[G]ht be in awkward places. [C] [G]
</verse> | </chorus> | </prechorus> | </bridge> | </tag>
</song>
...insert more songs here!
</songlist>

Hopefully that gives you an idea. Additional imformation can be stored in the song tag, such as theme, quick reference or songbook information. This is not so important for this increment of the program.

For a better example, take a look at this code snippet: songs-nocopyright.xml. You may find it simpler to view this file in a text editor by saving it first rather loading it directly in your browser.

Again, this is just an example, which won't necessarily be used exactly like this in the final implementation. 


November 03, 2007

The first tentative steps

Here is a rough idea of what the PSALM program could look like. Please bear in mind that this image is simply a mock-up, nothing is in concrete. Most importantly though, I have not thought much about basic GUI layout prinicples, let alone HCI issues. This screenshot serves only to indicate the kinds of functions that will be required. 

First PSALM mock-up

The first steps towards increment one have begun. This first increment is aimed at implementing an appropriate database and basic GUI for displaying/finding songs, forming the 'bread and butter' foundations of the program.

Requirements for the first increment are laid out here: reqs.pdf.


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  • Congrats for ur final report,, I dinn have ne problem veiwing the report, its seems to be gud,, ..! … by Veda Informatics on this entry
  • By the way, if you have any problems with viewing the report, or in using PSALM, please still let me… by on this entry
  • It appears that when I tested PSALM, the computer that I tested it on already had the Bitstream Vera… by on this entry
  • Ah… thank you. The font hasn't been picked up. I'll have a look at what needs to be done. by on this entry
  • Chords aren't displayed in the right place for me. The spacing seems to drift slowly left, so that c… by Steve Rumsby on this entry

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