teaching machines

Web API :: Travis Boettcher

October 27, 2012 by . Filed under cs491 mobile, fall 2012, postmortems.

For my web API project I wanted to use Wolfram|Alpha’s extensive knowledge base to create some sort of useful app.  As I was perusing what the API could do, I came across a morse code encoder function and I knew I needed to go no further.

My application allows the user to enter a word or words and select the output function.  When the user submits, the string is sent out to Wolfram|Alpha’s API where it is encoded.  What happens when the encoded string is returned depends on the output function: one function uses the camera’s flash to flash the morse code; another uses the phone’s vibrator to vibrate the morse code; and the final function simple adds the morse code to the clipboard allowing the user to paste it into another application.


The other part of the application pulls a list of links from www.twodee.org and presents them in a ListActivity’s ListView.  Each item is clickable and directs the browser to the clicked title’s link.


There were a lot of components to the functionality of this application, and a lot of it was fairly new to me.  I learned how to access the phone’s Vibrator and Clipboard, which were both easy enough to do.  I decided to add a warning to the MorseCodeActivity, so I learned the basics of creating an AlertDialog.  I got to play with the Observer pattern a little, and I got to learn a little about morse code.  Above all, I learned that working with other people’s poorly documented code is difficult, and although I didn’t add a lot more commenting to this project, I will strive in future projects to create easier-to-read and well documented code.

If you are interested in viewing the code, it is located at https://bitbucket.org/tboettcher/cs491.web_api


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