Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Get Started With Gadget and Visualization

This week, we had our first team meeting with Dr. Johnson. It turned out that we actually misunderstood the project requirement. In the beginning, we thought this Stoplight project is same as the Stoplight we designed last semester. The only thing we need to do is to make a Google Gadget and visualization for it. However, we actually need to create a generic Stoplight that takes any data source. Since we are still new comers in Google Gadget, we decide to develop the project into three steps.

The first step:
Implement a Google Visualization that displays a number. Create a Google Gadget that retrieves a number from a Google Spreadsheet.

The second step:
Modify the Google Visualization that displays a stoplight according to the number that pass to it. Modify the Google Gadget that takes three user inputs: Data source URL, Red threshold, Green threshold.

The third step:
Modify the Google Visualization that displays a stoplight and a text message and handles error. Modify the Google Gadget that refreshes after a certain time period.

This week, I finished implementing the first step. Basically, I just follow the example in Google Documentations. It has tutorial for how to get Google Spreadsheet URL, how to create a Google Visualization Query, how to include visualization in the Google Gadget. Finally, this is my first try on Google Visualization and Google Gadget (

For the next week, I am going to dig more in Google Visualization so that it can display a image. Also I will find out what else data format can be convert into Google datatable and how to make the user input in Google Gadget. Hopefully, we can make a better looking Gadget next week.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Back to the Software Engineering

After a short winter break, I am back to software engineering. I am very glad to take Dr.Johnson's class again, which is also part of my graduate research. This class is sort of an extension of the project (WattDepot Web Application) that I worked on last semester.

This semester we are going to create a dorm competition for energy usage called Kukui Cup. It contains a lot of parts. I was in the team of creating a Google Gadget for the stoplight that we built last semester. Further more, we also need to integrate Google Visualization to this stoplight gadget.

Stoplight team has three members: Jerry, Paul and I. We had our first meeting on Monday. We talked about the project schedule and came up with some questions that we are not sure. Both Jerry and Paul are very friendly and energetic. I hope we can have fun in this project and develop a remarkable Google Gadget.

For this week, I am going to walk through the Google Gadget Tutorial ( I have looked at it a little bit. It is very detail and helpful.) Interestingly, I figured that Google Chrome has a problem in parsing the xml version of a Google Gadget. And everything looks good in FireFox. The second task for us is to get familiar with JavaScript and Google Visualization API, so that we can get ready for the future development.