Starting a Startup: Steroid-Enriched Dog Food

Not a good day, in fact I’d go so far as to say I’m disappointed with myself. Spent far too long this morning trying to get a dropdownlist to postback correctly without using Viewstate, which took me over 2 hours to get working correctly. This is for the capacity planning screen, where a user needs to be able to select the factory machine that they wish to view capacity for (hence the dropdownlist). This then displays a table underneath with a list of unfinished work orders that require this machine. After I got the dropdownlist working it was an easy process to get the table of work orders to re-populate itself for the specific machine selected. And then it was on to the part I was dreading…

The rest of the day was spent trying to get the second element of this screen working; the stacked bar chart of resource capacity. The idea is that the user will input dates, in the table of work orders, when they want to schedule each work order for production at this machine. The bar chart will then update itself to reflect the calculated capacity loading at this machine, so the user can see how much more they can produce, or when the next available production slot is. Having never done any ASP.NET based charting before I’m in unknown territory, and it shows. I spent the rest of the morning and the start of the afternoon wrestling and contorting my code to get the ASP.NET charting component to work.

I then realised that this component was shit, and my understanding of it hadn’t drastically improved during the few hours I’d spent with it, so I abandoned it, and slung jqPlot into the mix. My actual master plan was to go with a JavaScript based charting tool anyway, I’d just been hoping that the ASP.NET native component would have provided a quick and dirty way to get version 1 working, so that I could come back later and implement the JavaScript charting engine at my leisure. It turns out that the JavaScript plugin is easier to get to grips with than the .net control, plus it’s easier to style. The working day closes with me having a chart of hard-coded test data displayed beneath my work order table. Tomorrow I’ll have to get some real data in there.

Lunch was some kind of premium brand of soup that I’ve never heard of before, in a carrot and coriander form, with 2 slices of brown bread.

Aside from the coding, I finally got some feedback from my business partners regarding my company name suggestions; they don’t like them. The counter offers were all hugely obvious names that I could instantly dismiss with the simple excuse that all the URLs were already taken (I didn’t even have to look), I then emailed them a link to the website that I use to check the availability of domain names. Within 30 minutes I received a phone call from one of them with a name he was hugely excited about, and which he’d checked was available: Zimpall. Sounds like a steroid-enriched dog food.

I instantly poo-pooed this, but I have no further suggestions as of yet, seeing as my business partners don’t seem to be very keen on my Google Translate-powered ideas factory.

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