Wheat Information Project (WHIP)
Wheat Information Project (WHIP)

Code: http://github.com/matti-kariluoma-ndsu/wheat-dissem/
Live site: http://www.ag.ndsu.edu/varietyselectiontool/

Sometime during March 2011, I was asked if I could so some work on a web view of NDSU’s varietal trial publications, which are currently sent out yearly to farmers and available as PDFs. I threw together a demo of search results with some jQuery polish using static data, and we were off!

Like all great projects, we needed some data entry. We hired a student to do this data entry (copying rows of numbers from PDFs), bullet dodged. Now that we were actually using a database, I tried to rope in our department’s systems administrator, but he wisely resisted. He did highly recommend the Django project (Python), and that’s how our framework was chosen. Since we couldn’t get the sysadmin, we hired an additional web developer, and later an artist.

After some steady progess, and talks with the administrators of www.ag.ndsu.edu, we were ready to put the site up live. By this point, the other developers had finished their tasks and gone back to school, and I was doing the work during my off-hours.

After a bit, we decided to tweak the search results a bit, but found the legacy code (only 1-year old!) to be getting in the way. Since summer (2012) was approaching, we decided to hire a handful of undergraduates to help with the polish and the rewrite of the search result backends.

With the fall semester underway, we’re back to a sole developer, and performing a few bug fixes now and again, with the exception of a new method for calculating our LSD results, using R behind-the-scenes as we orignally intended… turns out the Python LSD I wrote wasn’t as robust as we’d like.