Thursday, 2 July 2015

Science fun - broadening the reach

The kludgy tool I've been building that lets me create complete boutiques of gifts, cards, craft supplies and so on is creaking into life.

Yesterday I created one for the natural sciences that I've called Science Fun. And there's a lot of stuff that physicists, chemists, biologists etc will love to get. Some is side-splittingly funny and kids learning science in school will love some of the jokes.

Anything that spreads an appreciation of science has got to be a Good Thing and humour is as good a way as any :)

If you know any good science jokes, do share them in the comments. I think  my all time favourite goes like this:

Two atoms walking down the street when one stops suddenly and exclaims "Damn, I think I've lost an electron!" The other one says "Are you sure?". "Yes, I'm POSITIVE!"

If you're curious how I'm creating these boutiques, here's the low-down.
I'm using a mash-up of MS Access, ZazMySite (special edition just for this mashup) and a macro for pressing ZMS's buttons.

MS Access spits out Page Option Panel Settings files. These POPS are the ones that ZazMySite uses (in conjunction with a web page template) to create a web page.
Each web page contains a product grid filled with designs and types of product set up in MS Access and therefore present in each POPS.

The macro drives ZazMySite:
  1. it opens the first POPS file
  2. pulls products from Zazzle according to the criteria in the POPS file
  3. fills in the page template with the pulled product grid (and other stuff like page title, menus etc also present in the POPS file)
  4. saves the generated web page
  5. opens the next POPS file and repeats from 2
Nothing's perfect and the limitation I've hit is that Firefox crashes with a weird error after generating around 90 pages. It is a joy to sit there and watch the macro hammering away at buttons.

I leave it to crack on while I do other chores around the house. A great balance and the housework gets done a little more promptly!