Report of Events for the week ending 02/14/99
This week's meetings
  • Monday, 2/8 - regular team meeting, 5:30pm
  • Tuesday, 2/9 - Patrick and Leslie met to construct the maintenance user interface for the demo.
  • Thursday, 2/11 - status meeting, client joined for regular team meeting, 5:30pm
  • Friday, 2/12 - Patrick and Leslie met to continue work on the maintenance portion of the demo.
  • Monday 02/08/99
    In this regular team meeting, we discussed the revision of the client contract. Discussion was brief since little revisions were requested. We agreed on what course of action the group would take should any of the given risks materialize. The status on finding a sentence analyzer is still not looking up. However, we discovered a tool called ASP which has been used to implement similar projects. It was decided that each of us would individually visit the Microsoft web site and learn as much as possible about ASP. Thus far, it is know that ASP together with MS Query 7.0 support natural text queries, which is exactly what we are looking for. In short, even though a sentence parser has not been found, it appears that we have stumbled onto a different tool which will allow us to proceed with our project much quicker than projected, should everything pan out.

    Prior to this meeting, Leslie took the initiative to structure the User Manual and decide a format. She went ahead and completed the Getting Started section, for which she was responsible, so that the group would have an example format to work by. This format was shown to the team and no objections were raised so the format was accepted as given. Everyone had already begun working on their sections at that time. However, there was concern that our user manual's content is on the simplistic side. Our project is extremely simple from a user's point of view, which leads to a challenge in pinpointing exactly what our user manual needs to discuss. We are expecting either little or great amounts of suggestions on improving it.

    The discussion then turned toward new business, mainly that of design. We futher discussed integration design and what options we are going to support for the user. We also discussed the design of the maintence interface. We decided on what freedoms we would grant the maintenance administrator. The decision was made that the administrator would be allowed to add, delete, and/or modify any entries. The interface to the maintenance page would also be password protected, potentially allowing two levels of access.

    Upon adjournment, Patrick and Leslie agreed to meet the following day to begin the construction of the maintenance interface. Any business that was not settled would be settled at Thursday's meeting, when our client would be joining us.

    Thursday, 02/11/99
    Since many questions were raised in the last team meeting, we invited our client, Bill Mark, to join us at the beginning of our meeting. The first order of business was to review the contract with him and allow him to sign it. We then gave him a brief overview of what has been accomplished since we last touched base with him. We showed him the demo we have prepared so that he could let us know wwhere we are straying from his vision of the project. We also gave him a quick tour of the project web page and the user manual so that he may view those on his own time to better track the progress of the project himself. Within the demo we asked him if he like the level of specificty we have displayed and he answered that he does. He also told us that the "spell checking feature" is convenient but he sees it as less of a priority. He also specified that he likes the GUI maintenance user interface, but also sees it as a secondary concern. Bill Mark was able to clear up a lot of our questions and get us closer to the right track.

    We talked a little more about the sentence analyzer situation. The status of the situation has not changed, so we decided to continue the search as a team and we delegated Patrick to find out more on how to obtain MS Query, necessary disk space for it, and the appropriate database. So we have two tasks going on simultaneously to solve our "parsing problem."

    Finally, Patrick and Leslie showed the group what they had completed for the maintenance user interface at that point. Like the project, the maintenace portion is also in the demo stages and is not linked into the site in any way. Patrick and Leslie would be meeting Friday to complete the necessary portions of the maintenance site, i.e. the portions that are needed for screen captures and examples in the user manual. Before breaking we agreed that everyone could have their designated portion of the user manual complete by Sunday the 14th at 6pm.

    Summary
    This was another good week. We are growing more concerned about not being able to locate a suitable sentence parser, but we are keeping our fingers crossed that ASP is the tool we need. We expect (and hope) that as more is learned about ASP our concerns will decrease. Since the course of action regarding integration with the sentence analyzer has not yet been determined, we have taken a detour in the schedule. Instead of beginning implementation this week as originally planned, we have chosen to begin developement of the categories and content that will reside in the database. I feel that this scheduling decision is not a problem at this point, but we definitely cannot continue to spin our wheels and get nowhere in our search for a solution to accept simple text through the user interface. I project that implementation will begin within the coming week.
    Respond to Leslie (producer)