Years ago when I was on the Atkins diet and exercising every day I had a little log book. This is a surprisingly simple and cheap motivation. It sucks to look back and see missing entries, I don’t feel guilty at the time, and I like recording big numbers. So, when I started training last summer I did the same thing on the blog. Later, this turned into an exercise log.
Keeping this on the blog is pretty kludgy. I have to copy and paste the last line then edit it. Changes to the table structure like adding new columns or colorization takes a massive amount of effort. It’s good for one thing, adding one line at a time.
I hoped to fix this with some WordPress plugins like WP_Tables, but these are almost as kludgy and are not easy to add one new row. If there’s one thing WordPress does exceptionally bad it’s table data. You can’t just paste in cells from an Excel spreadsheet or quickly mock up a 3 X 4 simple table. This is really too bad as spreadsheets are one of the little known foundations of the digital age.
The Recent Book list is nearly as bad. It’s not a table, but has many common elements and new books are added the same way as the Bike Log. A while ago I added book covers to the mouse hover event. This took a couple of hours.
For some reason, I got the idea on Sunday of writing a Windows app to manage the data and spit out a formatted HTML table that I could just paste into the blog. It took about 6 hours to put together a basic app that would read existing data, write it to a new file format, and spit out an HTML table for the blog. Editing, adding, and removing entries were still done by editing the text file, but that was about the same as the blog anyway. The table got an immediate improvement in appearance that was worth the trouble. Over the past few days I’ve added other basic features along with a few more columns.
I would like to add a bit of analyzation too; things like weekly, monthly, yearly mileage, comparison to past performance in events, and fancier HTML. And to address the other annoyance of the Book List. It would be nice if this were in WordPress as a plugin. My interest can wane overnight and it’s better to have a process that works at the end of each improvement session. PHP, MySQL, WordPress development on a remote box would take too long.