Update Sep 3, 2012

There have been several style updates to make DanceMinder more mobile-friendly.

  1. The biggest change is to the navigation menu which will change to icon-only on smaller screens.
  2. The logo and social networking block will be hidden on smaller devices.
  3. The menu so there are fewer top-level items and ‘home’ has been replaced with an icon.
  4. The display of posts from the blog have also been made more attractive.

You can see these changes by viewing the site on your phone, viewing on a tablet and rotating your device or changing your browser window size when viewing the site at your desk.

This is all groundwork and housecleaning before the next round of major changes to the site.

Site Status Aug 10, 2012

We’ve been doing groundwork for a major change to the way dances are edited, which will improve editing usability and make the editors happier.  This will likely result in more dances becoming available which will make the regular users happier.

Part of the groundwork involved exercising our scripting skills by adding input validation on the user side which you can see when you add or edit a collection.  Type in a too-short name and move to the Description box and you’ll be given some instructions on-screen to help you choose a better name. It also checks for duplicates and will let you know if you’ve chosen a name that isn’t already used.  Our next step is to enable drag and drop between the dance lists at the bottom of the collection edit page.  Once that’s complete, we’ll have the foundation for putting those features together on the dance editing pages.

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What’s a Collection?

A Collection on DanceMinder is simply a list of dances.  These can be used as a series of dances for a public event, dances you’d like to study, dances for a class or for any purpose you like.  A collection includes a description and a field for a location where you can put the name of a studio, hall or even town crossroads.

How do you enter a collection?

Glad you asked.

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Update Aug 2, 2012

There’s been an important update to the way your email addresses are stored.  Many sites, including DanceMinder prior to today, store your email addresses unencrypted in their databases.

If you follow tech news at all, you will have heard, seemingly weekly, about major sites being hacked and at best user email addresses becoming available to spammers and in some cases even the passwords were available or easily cracked.

DanceMinder now stores email addresses in encrypted form.  Your password has always been stored encrypted and now, even if something happens to our servers and a hacker manages to get hold of our database, your email addresses and passwords will both be safe.

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Updates July 25, 2012

One big feature and several small tweaks this time.  Multi-column Crib View and several link updates and site optimizations.

  • The big item for this update is the addition of a multi-column format in the Crib View.  It’s a bit experimental at the moment so the way columns are chosen and formatted will continue to be tweaked as the feature is used and we receive feedback.
    By default the view will be displayed in single column as you’ve seen before.
    Click on any of the images below to be taken to a live version of the example.

    You may now select how many columns to be displayed, from 1-4.



    DanceMinder will also save your selection and use it as the default for all future Crib views until you change your selection.  Being an experimental feature, printing still needs some work to support the new multi-column formatting but will be fully enabled soon.
  • The Links menu item has been converted to a drop down menu and several useful links moved there such as our General links, Privacy Policy, Q&A, Contact Form and a new known (and fixed) issues page called Sausage.
  • User/Editor view option has been moved to the Editor menu.
  • Lots of little formatting tweaks and optimizations.

 

Updates July 21, 2012

There’s been a lot of activity today.

The Facebook community (Like it!) page and DanceMinder Blog have gone live with links between them and the main site.  The main DanceMinder page has been modified to show the latest blog posts at the bottom of the page and the first article explaining the basic features of DanceMinder has gone up on the blog.

What will happen tomorrow?

What is DanceMinder for? Part I

At the core DanceMinder is a collection of dances.  That may not sound like much and it would be understandable if you were thinking that if you wanted a collection of dances, you could buy a book.  DanceMinder is actually much more than just a collection of dances.

DanceMinder was started because I (Michael) wanted a more dynamic way to display the dances and I wanted to be able to easily carry around all the dances I like without that being a small stack of reference cards like this:

or a large stack of books like well, imagine a large stack of books.

Over the course of several years we had built up a stack of laminated reference cards with just enough information that we could call or participate in a dance we didn’t know cold.  Unfortunately as the stack grew it took more time to flip through it, looking for a specific dance.  Alphabetizing helped but the sets seem to center around the letters ‘c’ and ‘s’ and on the dance floor it takes a while to page through them.  Especially when Michael doesn’t put them back in order after an event. 🙂

We only ever had one copy of the cards so on the occasions where we weren’t in the same set or one of us was calling and the other dancing, one person was just out of luck unless we had the time beforehand to print out another copy.

It’s also not that unusual to reach into your pocket and take out your notes only to have them scatter across the floor after they slip out of your hand.

I wanted to be able to share these notes more easily with friends and students, so I started coding up the database and presentation and DanceMinder was born.

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