Four years ago something happened in my life — I decided I didn’t need any of that computer programming garbage, and I was going to rededicate my life to simpler things. I quit gaming, got a mac, and started doing a lot of reading and exercise.

I now realize, of course, that it was a terrible mistake to delete all of my programming files. I was so sure I was done, but the truth is, I like programming. And I’m still an English teacher. So here I am, rebuilding the whole thing.

What happened? My son grew up and as it turns out he has a knack for programming. One thing led to another and before long we found an old copy of Kongzi Online and started rewriting parts of the code as lessons.

As it turns out

So as it turns out the clarity of many years and the fresh perspective of my son really enabled me to get excited about coding again. As we worked on the site we found many fresh and new ways to do things. I upgraded the server to Ubuntu 20.04 and I just felt like it was “working”. The magic was back. And to top it all off, very conveniently I got a new job as an English teacher in a local elite senior highschool. A lot of other things came together recently as well — like which I also need to work on. But as it turns out, we’re very close to where we were last time and in some ways we have a better deal going forward than before.

The interface is better

So last time I was using a modal popup window and I was doing “everything” in javascript. This time, things are a lot simpler and I am using HTML and links-as-buttons to do a lot of work I previously was doing in javascript. I’m not using a popup, and, with the new bootstrap 4.5 framework it looks great on mobile. For the first time in a long time, I’m actually thinking this is something that could work.

The database is better

Interestingly enough for some reason the database problems I had before are mainly resolved; I now have an intuitive grasp of how it should be organized. And my insight has led to a surprising conclusion; my new NDS 2.0 solution is even better than before! I’ve stuck with a “single table” for dictionaries and a “single table” for cards, but when the time comes to split the tables I know exactly how it should be done and it will be a transparent change.

With a bit more elbow grease and a brand new algorithm…

Of course, I lost the actual algorithm code when I deleted everything. But I do remember how it works; I didn’t lose my notes nor any of the posts here on the blog, so I can rewrite it. And with a bit more work on the UI and underlying code (big stuff coming soon!) we are very well positioned for the future.

The next post will probably be an obligatory rant about using anki as a teacher and/or a schpeil about algorithms, how they work, and why my algorithm is so much better than Anki’s (and it is).

By Serena

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