NinjaCalc Is Now A Web App

NinjaCalc, a “collection of embedded engineering related calculators”, is now a web app (go to http://ninja-calc.mbedded.ninja/ to try it out)!

NinjaCalc is now a web app! A screenshot while selecting a calculator using the new web app at http://ninja-calc.mbedded.ninja/.

Up until now NinjaCalc has been a desktop app written in Java (as NinjaTerm still is). However, the functionality that NinjaCalc provided had no need to be a installable desktop app, and I had long desired to move it to the easily accessible web.

When I recently discovered vue.js, I finally decided to make the move (after trying both React and AngularJS a year or so ago but deciding not to use them). It was the simplicity and flexibility of vue.js which was the deciding factor. Porting took about 3 weeks of full-time work (luckily I was unemployed at the time).

After trying out Heroku as the deployment platform, I eventually choose to deploy it on my server instead due to increased configuration flexibility (incl. the ability to setup the Apache server routing with .htaccess files). rsync is used to copy the production files over ssh onto my server.

The newest version of the Java based NinjaCalc (v1.3.0) can still be downloaded from https://github.com/mbedded-ninja/NinjaCalc/releases/tag/v1.3.0, although this will slowly deviate from the web app as the web app is developed further.

Existing users of NinjaCalc may appreciate the similarity between the Java app and the web app. The results can be found below!

GitHub Repo: https://github.com/mbedded-ninja/NinjaCalc
GitHub Project Page: http://mbedded-ninja.github.io/NinjaCalc/
NinjaCalc Web-app: http://ninja-calc.mbedded.ninja/

Happy New Year And Welcome To 2013

 Happy new year and welcome to 2013 from the CladLabs team! (well, that’s just me, aka Geoffrey Hunter). Feel privileged, for this is one of the rare semi-personal, non-engineering posts that are ever presented on this site.

First off, thanks to everyone who has visited this site. And a bigger thanks for anyone who has commented or learnt something from it! I hope that this site has provided useful engineering-related information for people doing anything from constructing DIY electronic circuits to getting involved with pyrotechnics and rocketry.

I have added some website statistics to keep the info-devouring, content absorbing part of your brain happy and also a brief roadmap of what is planned for this site in this new year.

Some site stats:

  • Website Age = 8 years, 8 months (since April 2004, when Kaboom was created)
  • Time since last major site structure/url change (when I moved from Drupal to WordPress) = 1 year, 4 months
  • Total Number of visits since May 2012 (when stats were reset) = 18,874
  • Percentage increase in visitors in the last year = 2260% (from 202/month in May 2012 to 4,562/month in Dec 2012)
  • Highest Number of Views in 1 Day = 312
  • Num. of Pages = 221
  • Num. of Posts = 98
  • Num. of Images = 1021
  • Num. of Comments (including trackbacks) = 71

Website goals for this year:

  • Add more online calculators to the Electronics section. If laid out properly, made to look good, and aided with clear diagrams, these are very helpful for many engineering tasks. I find myself using them often!
  • Increase the amount of reader interaction (i.e. comments) on the site. There are over 200 published pages but only 32 comments.
  • Remove some of the dead links on the site. No one likes the “Page not found” error. I have the awesome WordPress plugin Broken Link Checker which monitors the site continuously for dead links. Currently there are 33 dead links.
  • Increase website exposure. Currently this site gets about 4,500 visits per month. Part of the plan to increase exposure is perform SEO on the websites pages and images.
  • Tidy up some of the “work-in-progress” pages
  • Add more rotating image banners. These images are useful at highlighting some of the best parts of this site. Currently, there are only four banner images in rotation. Two I intend to add are for the Component Packages page and the 32PVC Rocket Project page.
  • Tidy up the navigation menu. This (especially the Electronics section) has become bloated as more pages have been added. One of the problems of just ‘changing it’ is WordPress poor ability to handle large menu structures, causing crashes and entire menu structures to be lost (which is a time consuming task!, see the Cladlab Menu’s Gone post). The way around this has been for me to use the WordPress plugin “Add Descendants As Submenu Items“, which automatically adds child pages into the menu. However, there is no way of preventing “grandchildren” pages (which I want to be accessed only through hyper-links of the child page, not the menu) to be added also, and so the menus get very big and bloated. I have put in a feature request comment on the plugin’s website.
  • Fix long titles which overlap each other. For some reason, long titles which wrap onto a second line are not spaced properly and the font text overlaps. Probably just require a quick CSS fix somewhere.
  • Add continuous scrolling. WordPress.com recently added this feature to their Jetpack plugin, although the theme has to also support it before it can be enabled. This will require tweaking the theme page template files as well as a bit of CSS.

Calculators Upgraded And Have Their Own Page

The electronic online calculators have been upgraded! They now

  • Have selectable engineering units
  • Have a “Calculate What?” button, meaning you choose which variable you know, and which to calculate
  • Features shading of the calculated variables, so you know which ones you have to type in yourself
  • Has live calculating that re-calculates everytime you change something.
  • Features a “variable diagram”, which helps graphically explain the equation and what your calculating

The calculators now have their own page, which shows the collection of calculators that are used on the electrical pages of the CladLabs site.