Monday, February 20, 2006

The Three Day Weekend

I've spent most of my three day weekend embarking on a new project. It involves subways and computers. I went through the arduous task of setting up a server and reacquainted myself with PHP and MySQL. I've hacked together a nice little website that uses Google Maps to display the location of every subway station in NYC and which trains stop where. That's not a terribly special achievement: there are already sites out there with such info (in fact, I bummed the whole data set from someone else - though getting their data into MySQL involved a brief detour into Python). The cool thing I've done is add the ability to overlay the route of each train. So, for the red 1 train, you can see a red line showing the train's entire path, not just the stations where it stops. The code-writing has been slow and steady (as it always is for me) but fun. The Google Maps API is a joy and, despite a lack of forethought and some atrocious naming conventions, I've build a nice, flexible system. The site lives on my machine, so it's only up when I'm on and running the server. Feel lucky? See if it's up. If it's not, try again later.