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Gypsy Rescue Transport: update notifications

Discussion in 'Rescue Chat' started by mmcginty, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. mmcginty

    mmcginty Premium Member

    I wanted to establish this before anyone unsubscribes to the older thread (the nature of which generates a lot of notification traffic.)

    PLEASE do NOT post to this thread, instead click Thread Tools -> Subscribe.

    I will post to this thread ONLY when additions or changes have been made to gypsyrescuetransport.com. That will limit the number of notifications everyone has to weed through, and I won't have to PM all those who have expressed interest.

    Mark McGinty
  2. mmcginty

    mmcginty Premium Member

    the first installment

    Well it isn't much but it's a start. Did I say I could whip this up over lunch? OMG the unbelievable arrogance! To be fair I decided to develop it in ASP.NET, this is the first time I've used it to create a website from scratch. And then after I created it using v4, I found that my host only has v3.5... irritating.

    In any case, enough sniveling! Please take a look when you get a moment; please go ahead and register even if you don't want to be involved (I need the zip codes.) I promise not to spam you (not counting what I post to this forum, of course.)

    I have some high-level design thoughts I want to share, but it'll have to wait, got to get back to my day job.

    Thanks and remember, please do not post replies to this thread.
  3. mmcginty

    mmcginty Premium Member

  4. mmcginty

    mmcginty Premium Member

    Picture this...

    A user (let's call him/her "you") finds a Sheltie that's been detained and is in need of assistance. You browse over to this web app, paste the link about the dog from petfinder, petharbor, etc, the web app extracts what it needs, and it checks to see if either/both the dog or the pound that has custody, are already on file.

    Because I acquired records for ~13,000 pounds/shelters/rescues for our database over the last couple of days, let's say we already have the pound on file, but not the dog, which means action is needed.

    The web app then searches the database for all rescues within [n] miles. (I've already written/tested the code to do exactly that; as these things go, it's pretty cool) and it generates an email to each of the rescues, explaining the situation.

    The email also includes a link to a page in the web app designed specifically for the rescues, so as each responds, it can see at a glance which of the others have also responded, and whether any is in a position to save the dog. (I have much more complex plans for this end, but you get the drift.)

    Of course, you (and any other interested users) also have access to the response status' of the shelters. In short, everyone who wants to be is in the loop -- 100% in the loop, no less -- has an easy way to get there, while at the same time the rescues are spared redundant emails (that they have to examine to determine they actually are redundant), the pound is spared multiple phone calls (unless those actually help, in which case the web app calls-in volunteers to ring them up the optimal number of times.)

    Now back to the list of rescues within [n] miles, the web app plots them on a Google map, and uses Google to derive a distances matrix for all points involved. I've tested this capability, it works exactly as I thought it would...

    Ok, so... deep breath... let's take inventory of what we've gathered at this point: we have a streamlined, largely automated mechanism, tuned to locate and notify the entities best able to render assistance, an efficient way for those entities to inter-communicate, a deterministic method for requesting assistance from multiple entities and tracking which of them commits, and an efficient way for everyone concerned to monitor status in near-real-time.

    The pick-up route part is easily added just by adding potential drivers to the map; I'd like to entice the rescues to use that capability, even if they don't use any of us to drive.

    Of course, we're a fair ways away from realizing that dream, primarily because I need some feedback! And I'd really like at least some show of intent to use such a system from some rescues, because without their participation, it's worthless. If we could just get a handfull to try, and it works, the rest will almost surely follow suit... and that would be the start of a snowball.

    So what I'm about to ask all of you to do, is contact any/all people at any rescues that you've dealt with in the past, to see what their take is on all of this. And before that, make sure those rescues are in the database, you all have create/change/delete capability. (All changes are journaled.) And before that, let's discuss the best way to approach them.

    Ok? :yes:


    btw, I hate to seem needy, but so far I've received zero feedback that's specific to what's on the web. Now I realize that it's visually unappealing, and some behavior is quirky. But to it's credit, every part of it except the about page is dynamic, built from data, not just a static screen diagram, it's all functional, and is underlied by some substantial underpinnings. So in case that was non-obvious... now you know.
  5. danisgoat

    danisgoat Moderator

    Jul 23, 2009


    You asked that people do not reply to this thread, yet you want feedback on the website.

    Can you please let forum members know where you would like them to send the feedback?

    I myself am confused, and I am assuming I might not be the only one.


  6. mmcginty

    mmcginty Premium Member

    You are exactly right, Dani, I meant to create another thread, but was in a hurry to get away from my computer. Sorry about that.

    This whole general topic will tend to be confusing by nature, part of my job is doing whatever is possible to counter that -- though sometimes the net effect is exactly the opposite.

    So here's the new thread.

  7. mmcginty

    mmcginty Premium Member

    We have some significant improvements now online:
    • The dog's name is now a link that is stand-alone, and can be posted/shared wherever. If you click the link you'll see a bigger, higher-resolution picture, the info displays without scrollbars, and...
      • There is a way to post notes about a given dog, that everyone can see, and...
      • It now logs visits to a dog's page, and shows stats below the notes section
    • The name of the rescue is now a link. Unfortunately qthe petfinder data does not include a link to the shelter website, so I did the next best thing: the link is a google query for the shelter name
    • Not all of the info available about the shelter was being displayed, but that has been corrected, you'll now see both address lines, a fax number and email (for shelters that included them in their petfinder listing.)
    • The kill policy text is now a link, clicking it allows you to change that policy. (*)
    • Another link is now available, that lets you add a dog to your own watch list, or if you previously added that dog, it lets you remove it (the text changes based on whether the dog is in your list.)
      • There is now a corresponding watch list page, accessed by a sub-menu item under the Browse Shelties menu.
    • The checkbox settings on the browse shelties page are now persisted to cookies
    (*) I have to apologize for this feature's lameness at the moment. I had some ideas that seemed quite elegant, but ran into some frustration with ASP.NET... so I just made it quick and dirty (minus the quick part) for now. It'll improve in the reasonably near future.
  8. mmcginty

    mmcginty Premium Member

    I just changed things around a little: previously you clicked the policy link to edit a shelter's policy. Now you click the shelter's name, to open the new and improved editor. Next to the shelters name there is a google icon, that is now the search link. Nice, yeah? :yes:

    I also put a pages button on the top as well as bottom, added a checkbox to filter items that PetFinder deleted from their content (because we've got some now,) and added a way to set the number of dogs displayed on a page, for your surfing pleasure. :yes:

    The data refresh from PetFinder is *almost* flying, it's sooooo close! The problem is with the shelters, I end up downloading 75000+ records trying to get about 13700 unique ones. But the dogs are more important by far so I'm going to isolate them...

  9. mmcginty

    mmcginty Premium Member

    Sorry to do the old flip-flop on you all, but I just couldn't get used to clicking the google link to search the web for a shelter. My experience has been that if it's too obscure for me to remember, others are the same way. So it's back the way it was, and there's a little pencil icon button next to it to edit the kill policy.

    Also the "add to watch list" link didn't really belong with the shelter stuff, so it's now a binoculars button on the left by the dog info. And there are two new buttons as well, the yellow "V+" adds you to the visitor's log without having to click the dog's name to visit the all-details page. And the red "x" flags it as deleted (same as when it no longer is included in perfinder data, except that the delete is attributed to you. Please be certain it's appropriate to use this.

    Bug alert: if you use either of those it returns you to the first page of records, which can be annoying if that's not where you started. I know how to fix it but it will take a bit of restructuring. I'll get to it as soon as I can.

    Also again, the paging thing has more info, number of records and pages... I'm not sure I like the way it looks niw, kind of busy, but I'm going to wear it around for a while to see how it feels.

    Also yet again, "Browse Shelters" replaces the disabled "Edit Shelties Rescues" menu... The top of that page is busier than a dozen beavers on crack, but it's got some interesting functionality. The ability to edit is in the works.

    And lastly you may have noticed some rather cryptic stats on the home page, they are an indication that automated data transfer is ready to rock and roll, I'm still launching it by hand and closely monitoring it, want to avoid it doing anything dumb that would annoy the fine folks at PetFinder. (It downloaded 67,000 shelter rows, 54,000 of which were redundant; I'm only allowed 10,000 per day -- mostly due to quirks I had to use brute force to work around, but still... bad programmer, bad! Back in your crate!

    If anyone liked something as it was, please by all means speak up, nothing is carved in stone... obviously.
  10. mmcginty

    mmcginty Premium Member

    This is huge!!

    We now have a very cool mapping feature online! Click the Find Shelties menu item, and notice each listing now has a "Find Nearest Rescues" link, on the right side. Click that link, then enter the number of miles radius to include, and choose between Sheltie Rescues, Other Rescues or All Facilities and click Submit.

    It then populates a Google map with markers at the locations of all found shelters! The crude little marker for the shelter that has the dog is supposed to be a gallows -- as I said, no artistic ability here... hoping to come across something better.

    The only thing more I want to add, before re-thinking what might be compelling enough to get the rescues themselves involved, is email functionality, a way to generate emails to rescues selected by the user from the list... sort of a spam machine, if you will (depending on perspective.) And there are some known issues I'm working on, more on that later.


    Is anyone still listening? Please post to the other related thread or PM me if so. (Starting to feel like one of those homeless street preachers hollaring from atop his soap box -- which I realize is my fault, for asking that no one reply to this thread... The road to hell is paved with... something.) :yes:

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