As you may have noticed – there has not been much happening here during the last few months! In fact there has been lots of other garden related activity going on, but this has left very little time for Plant Base program development. The current tricky financial conditions mean that priority must be given to short term needs. Though the coding work might slow down, at least the business is secure as it doesn’t owe anything to anyone!
We have recently released our second Android smartphone app – the “Plus” edition of the original PBO Viewer. This adds the advanced search options, with all the selection choices of the “Advanced Search” online database web page.
After many, many hours of coding from last autumn throughout the winter, the new Plant Base progam is finally at a stage where it can be used for some serious testing.
Obviously individual sections have been tested during development, but that doesn’t give an overall view. So I have now started to use the new program to manage updates on the real full scale database. This is a converted copy of the live “master” database and the intention is to take it forward as new master (subject to extensive checking, naturally!). So in effect, all new and updated plant data and pictures are now being enter with Plant Base 2.
I took a rare day off from coding yesterday, to have a walk around the Hillier Gardens. The weather was a bit dreary but as soon as I entered the gardens my spirits were lifted! Just behind the entrance buildings the winter garden area was looking great – all the classic elements were there, coloured stem dogwoods and willows, white birches, plenty of evergreen foliage and lots more. Probably the highlight for me were the flowering witch hazels, some with that fabulous fragrance. There is also a even larger collection of these over at the other side of the gardens. And then of course there are the snowdrops and aconites. Well worth a February visit.
Transferring web hosting raised just one really significant issue. That was due to the new hosting server running Apache 2 with mod_security. This appears to have an unfortunate quirk of being unhappy with most European accented letters in the the URLs – causing an HTTP 406 error.
We switched to a new web hosting company just before the Christmas break and after a few small transfer problems the website seems to be running nicely. The move was really forced on us because the previous web server had become so slow that main Plant Base installation download was taking up to 5 hours. Thankfully everything is much quicker now – the install download is back to just a few minutes on a good broadband connection and the online database is much faster too.