congressvotes moves forward
Mood: satisfied
Posted on 2007-04-16 14:23:00
Tags: congressvotes
Words: 335

So it's been a while since I've had a lot of time to work on congressvotes, but with the holidays being over and hitting level 70 in WoW (yay! flying mount!) I've been a little less busy.

The previous hangup I had was parsing the XML files and getting data out in Haskell - I figured out how to do it with HaXML, but the code I had took like half an hour to run and a ridiculous amount of memory just to get some basic data out. Maybe it's because my code was bad, but I couldn't figure it out and got frustrated and took some time away from the project.

So, I kinda gave up and wrote a script in Python to convert the XML into a simple colon-delimited format, and everything works much faster now.

While I had some time off I thought about what exactly I wanted it to do, since I had a bunch of related ideas. My current plan is this: the user selects a year, and then picks from a list of interest groups that had opinions on votes that year. You can then decide whether you care about the votes or not (and whether to vote for or against the interest group's position!) and then you get a list of all representatives in congress sorted by how many times they agreed with you. (in a neat Yahoo! UI DataTable) You can then sort by state to see how your legislator did, etc.

Last night I wrote the code that actually compares the votes, and I also spent a bit of time this weekend gathering congressional scorecards from interest groups. I also did some work on the webpage, so it looks like I just need some glue pieces to tie it all together. Hopefully that won't take too long!

(oh, and I have to make the page work in Internet Explorer which always frustrates the hell out of me. Maybe I can set up IE debugging on David's computer...)


Comment from djedi:

You know, I have a laptop with IE installed as well. Glad your project is going well. I'm still working the kinks out of my UI for mine. UI is hard. I need to do more web-based stuff so I can just use a browser's UI for free.

Comment from gregstoll:

Oh, good idea! That way I don't have to wait until you're otherwise occupied to debug :-)

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