This past week I had a bit of time in-between other work and projects to develop a quick prototype for Eileen Eagan’s Portland Women’s History Trail in Portland (Maine). To put things together quickly and ensure cross-platform compatibility, I used the old standby, jQUery Mobile and threw in a little jekyll to allow simple development-side templates.

prototype screen capture

Eileen’s original electronic version is long gone, so work began by scanning and OCR-ing the paper copy she dropped off with me. At this point, I’m only prototyping and only needed content that looks plausible. Getting the content updated and ready for the final version is a task for someone else. The OCR gave me this reasonable set of content.

The content gets pasted into markdown as it is incredibly simple to use and again, just a prototype. With jekyll this could be full-fledged HTML in the future. With jekyll I can then apply the templates for each content type (trail, sites, etc.) and spit out the completed “application.” Just a smidgen above drop-dead simple.

Before you go off and click on the link to see the prototype, you should know that not all the content was brought in, just enough to show the general idea of the application and design. The Congress St. trail is the only one that has any sites, and as below, the map is quite non-functional.

Also there are still quirks that need to be sorted out. Navigation within a trail and site is not broken but close. The application is within a bottom tabbed interface and then has a navigation within each tab. I’ve not gotten it to look and work quite right in this configuration. This is perhaps more a symptom of me not knowing how to do this properly in jQuery Mobile than it is a problem with the framework. Also, There’s problems with the map markers that seems to be just a JavaScript scoping problem that needs to be resolved. All the markers show the same title.

The prototype was relatively easy to get up and running in a few hours. It has the features and ideas that make it easy to show others, including non-technical folks. It gives the feel of the design and shows a possible implementation. And, as with any prototype, it needs work.

With that all said, go and give it a try.