News for November 2014

Lil update on 6th edition support27 November 2014
The website is technically ready to support multiple character indexes and the new settings page to select the RTK edition is working. Now I have to update the scripts which are used to feed the character information in the database, in order to include the 6th edition frame numbers.

As I was looking into the Perl scripts written years ago I became frustrated with having to re-learn another language once again. This made me realize that, besides the cost of rewriting old code, there is also a cost involved in having to switch between languages. There is only so much that you can be proficient in at the same time, especially when you are building web applications and you also want to be proficient with the front end side of things (Javascript, Html and Css).

So I figured since I have to make significant changes to the Perl scripts, I may as well rewrite them in Php. I'd rather use fewer languages, and get to know them well than use more languages and only dabble in some of them. I really hope I can wrap this up in the next couple weeks!
Multiple editions support headaches17 November 2014
Still working on adding 6th edition support. Unfortunately the solution I was working on is not flexible enough. Turns out this is more complicated than I thought because I want users to be able to add flashcards for characters that are not in the RTK books. The database queries need to support multiple indexes AND also characters that are outside of the indexes. For example a list of the user's flashcards need to be sorted on the Heisig index, while still showing characters that do not have an Heisig "frame number". I have another solution in mind but I don't think it will be ready for November.
How to handle different editions of the RTK books10 November 2014
One thing I considered while working on "multiple edition" support is whether to consider Volume 3 as a separate "index". Doing so would be interesting as the progress chart could focus more specifically on one book. However this causes problems in the Study page. Say I have selected "Volume 3, 3rd edition" (800 kanji), what if I want to go to Study kanji #600 ? This one isn't in the #2201-#3000 range.

Logically it seems 4th and 5th editions of RTK Volume 1 are followed by The 1st or 2nd editions of Volume 3, for a total of 3000 kanji. That would be the "old edition(s)" index.

The "current editions" index presumably will be: 6th edition of Volume 1 (#1 - #2200), followed by 3rd edition of Volume 3 (#2201-#3000).

Can I even assume that most everyone will have the correct volumes as above? If you have an old edition (up to 5th) of RTK 1 then you should probably get an older edition of RTK 3, otherwise the 196 or so "newly approved kanji" added in 2010 won't be covered. Then there are still 23 missing kanji which until today are available on the site as #3008-#3030. Those are from the 196 newly approved kanji that were not covered by RTK3.

If you have a newer (6th) edition of RTK1, then you should follow with the 3rd edition of RTK 3.

So to summarize so far: if the user selects old edition sequence, it will be as it is now: #1-2042 (vol 1), #2043-3007 (vol 3), #3008-3030 (remaining newly approved kanji missing from Vol 1 & 3 ). If the user picks current edition sequence, it will be #1-2200 (vol 1), #2201-#3000 (vol 3).

I hope that makes sense for the users, because it's definitely not intuitive for me. Fortunately switching between editions on the site will be harmless: it will not affect any stories or flashcards as these are all using the unicode character as the unique reference. This may be handy later if I add "RTK Lite". The user could then start with RTK Lite. When they switch to the full Volume 1, adding flashcards will fill in the gaps. New cards will appear in the blue pile, any existing flashcards will stay where they are in the SRS.