Sunday, March 25, 2018
I have started work on WiredPages and the associated Business Directory.
Although there is a delay in published updates to the main areas of WiredPages, the Business Directory is being revised and updates are being published.
The following illustrates how other areas of qisoftware.com, promote the Business Directory.
Currently, work to both areas of WiredPages- involves installing new code snippets to the underlying html pages.
Updates to WiredPages tools & widgets are also in the works, however as indicated, the updates will probably not go online before the security issues are resolved.
The WiredPages Business Directory has always been manually edited and maintained. Automation tools and widgets never integrated, therefore no reason to hold off on updates to this area of the live site.
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
One of the many software services QiSoftware supports, custom tool development using Application Program Interface (API) resources. Refer to this list for some of the supported APIs and demonstrations.
Many major online services, i.e., Google, Yahoo, Facebook (just to name a few), offer API hooks to allow developers and web site owners an easy means to incorporate their data.
Over the years, QiSoftware has developed many tools using API services with one glaring oversight, Facebook. In October 2017, after a bit of research the first Facebook API tool was developed, as discussed in this post.
Recently, in preparation for major updates to the WiredPages News Service, I developed a new interface that incorporates the WiredPages Facebook Page, related events, and Facebook API. To populate the WiredPages Facebook Events Page, I scour Facebook for noteworthy national and international events.
Shown in the illustration below, the earlier Facebook Events tool for my local business community (Hanover, Maryland), the new WiredPages interface and the Facebook event page for one of the listed events (Warner Theater's "The Nutcracker") shown in the results on the WiredPages tool.
Note, the tool demonstrations are running in local mode and powered by my IDE (Netbeans). As mentioned, major updates are in the works for WiredPages, however I am still no closer to providing a more accurate time frame for when the updates will go into production [online] mode.
Saturday, October 07, 2017
Several years ago, because of exponential business growth in our area, I decided to create a Facebook Business Page  providing details about the business community. See this link.
When the Maryland Live Casino opened in 2012, I started doing more with the page, including:
- Photos & Videos
- A weekly post about a local business.
- Added several tabs providing various resources about the area for visitors.
- Researching local events for inclusion to the page.
I also registered a .org domain to use with the page, however I have yet to set it up. That said, I wanted to start building tools and resources to use with an external site. Two ideas I thought may be useful for the new .org domain;  a business directory and  a list of upcoming area events.
Today, I completed most of the major work on a Java Servlet that uses the Facebook API to provide the list of Events associated with the page. The illustration shows the Servlet running in local mode on my Macbook.
Note: only using 3 earliest events [updated this image].
I am not sure when the new interface will go into production, however I am pretty happy this project is mostly done [custom formating and fine tuning the remaining tasks]. Over the years, I have done one or two things with Facebook as a developer, however not a lot. This project gave me the opportunity to take a good look at the Facebook API and I am glad I did.
Friday, February 17, 2017
In April 2011, I developed a political interface allowing visitors to the WiredPages Government & Education page, the ability to query for political officials based on a United States address.
Illustrated in this post, how the interface used to look on the page.
Almost from the very beginning there were issues with the initial version of the interface, mainly because it required three entirely different input resources- to generate the data.
The initial resources included:
- Sunlight Labs
In 2013 or so, I stopped trying to maintain the political officials interface and then of course, the hosting-q.com domain moved to a new IP which caused a security risk for all of the tools I maintain on that domain.
Rather than update my security triggers, I decided to allow most of the tools hosted on hosting-q.com to use the "unauthorized use" message. That said, many of the tools still work-- [I can run them from my local environment]- however I will not update the online versions until I can secure my domains. I am not sure when this will happen.
In any case, yesterday morning I found a service that offers the political data as part of their API offerings-- and decided to implement a new interface. This is how the new interface looks- running in the local environment [via NetBeans] on my Macbook.
Also shown, part of the data returned from the API service. As I have indicated on a number of occasions, I am not sure when I will install the new interfaces I have been updating or rewriting entirely, however I am ready to go if I resolve my domain security issues.
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Hanover, Maryland these days seems more like an ever growing metropolis, rather than the mid-size town I moved to in 1996.
There are several reasons for this...
- Arundel Mills [huge outlet mall that hosts big outlets for major retailers like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Ave] opened in 2000. See a complete list here.
- Maryland Live! Casino opened in 2012
- Proximity to Fort Meade and the National Security Agency.
- It also does not hurt that an international airport, BWI is less than 5 miles away.
When I started the FB Hanover, MD Business Page in 2010, I thought I would connect with other business owners in the area, even though my business, QiSoftware is listed with a Columbia address.
In 2013 or so, I started listing websites and Facebook pages for the businesses or events in the area.
New features that I want to add to the pages include:
- Hanover, MD Jobs, currently the "Use App" button on the Facebook page
- Area Events, The Casino and RamsHead Stage often offer headliners.
- Real Estate, another area that has grown quite a bit.
To that end, today, I built two new interfaces that I will eventually integrate as page tabs for the FB Hanover MD Business page. One offering, area jobs as provided by Indeed, and the other, area events offered by Eventful.
Shown below, the new servlets running in stand-alone mode on my Macbook. Just behind the two windows showing the output from each, is the Netbeans IDE which is providing the local server I use for implementation, testing and debug for most of the software I develop.
There are several restrictions when integrating widgets and interfaces on Facebook pages, including size restrictions and using resources from secure sites. Neither of my sites, qisoftware.com nor hosting-q.com uses SSL certifications, however I hope to incorporate this feature to one or both of the sites- sometime in the future.
In the meantime, I do have other options for installing the new interfaces to the Hanover MD Business Page-- as a tab on the Facebook page, however want to hold off to investigate as many options as possible. Hopefully, I will have these new interfaces in place in the near future.