D1: Process journal (January 11)

Today I designed the temperature conversion and was able to find a way to hide previous forms so that they would not build on each other and create unnecessary mess on the user’s screen. in looking for the Celsius/Fahrenheit conversion formulas, I realized I had forgotten to add  liquid measures to the program, and I added them in the place of the speed conversions, which had been removed last class.

view of liquid conversion select screen:

jan111

Updated form 1:

jan112

Temperature conversion forms:

jan113 jan114

Actual programming as of now for temperature:

jan115

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A1: Identify the problem

For Americans living overseas, the change from going to customary units of measurement to metric can be very challenging for someone with no previous experience to the metric system. The metric system is a very easy and simple way of measurement  but it can take quite some time to get used to on a daily basis. I was able to get used to the metric system over a period of about a year, through experience and mistakes made in conversion. By creating a more interactive unit converter than the standard ‘type in the unit, click a button, and get a result’ converter, someone coming from the United States overseas can learn unit conversion much easier if a converter has more of an interactive interface that teaches the concept  while being used as a conversion tool. If it were to only be used as a conversion tool, then the user would learn very little about what is actually being done to convert the unit, but if for example, a visual interpretation of the conversion were to be included along with the answer, the user would learn the concept much more efficiently and would be able to at the least, approximate converted values between the two systems.

A2: Design brief

I am going to make a unit converter, which can convert customary units to metric, and metric to customary, while subtly educating the user of how to do it themselves mentally, which may not give exact results, but will give a result close enough to the actual result. As someone who has had to become accustomed to the metric system on a daily basis, I intend for this to be used by others, in a similar situation as I was in a few years ago,  who have little or no understanding of the metric system and will need to become familiar with how it works for their daily lives. It could be used by people of all ages, so It would need to be simple enough that a child could use it effectively, and useful enough that teenagers and adults would also be able to use it without being bored with childish details. Finding the balance between fun and useful may be difficult to find depending on design. For how the converter actually works, it will need to be able to convert values of weight, liquid, distance and speed from both metric and customary units into their international counterpart. There will need to be a place to select the units, enter unit values, indicate which unit will be converted, and a box that outputs the final value.

A3: Research & bibliography

Possible topics(class examples):

  • Quadratic equations
  • unit converter
  • historical timeline
  • Step by step formula guide
  • grammar quiz

ways to research:

  • VB tutorial on your topic
  • interactive way to teach

GUI design

  • all buttons should work
  • Contrasting colors
  • align the items
  • I need to make the GUI simple, yet effective. buttons should be easy to see and click, and the process by which the program is used should be in a logical manner.

Tutorials/visual basic practice:

Visual Basic 2010 Express Tutorial 1 – Getting Started Hello World – Free Download.YouTube. SchoolFreeware, 12 July 2010. Web.
1st in a series of basic tutorials for Visual basic, this one walks the user through opening a basic program, making a button that links to a label that can be changed by the button click, how to close a program, and publish a program.

Visual Basic 2010 Express Tutorial 2 – EventsYouTube. SchoolFreeware, 12 July 2010. Web.
This second tutorial walks the user through making a form that will change its appearance and text if the user mouses over it, which could be useful for someone making for example, a quiz of some sort.

Visual Basic 2010 Express Tutorial 4 – Simple Calculator Part 1YouTube. SchoolFreeware, 12 July 2010. Web.
This tutorial walks the user through how to make calculations in a program, which will be very useful for me, as most of my programming will include mathematical conversions that will need to be programmed so the program can run smoothly, conforming to the GUI standard of simple layouts, because if the user had to manually make the conversions, then my converter program would be worthless, as its purpose is to make conversions easier to learn and calculate.

Visual Basic 2010 Express Tutorial 5 – Simple Calculator Part 2 – RadioButtons.YouTube. SchoolFreeware, 12 July 2010. Web.
This tutorial shows how to make and use radio buttons, which I have considered using to allow the user to select which unit to convert to what.

Visual Basic 2010 Express Tutorial 6 – Data Parsing Error Checking and An User Friendly InterfaceYouTube. SchoolFreeware, 12 July 2010. Web.

This tutorial walks the user though how to find and correct errors, which can be very common, as one can occur if even one letter is incorrect in the programming. additionally, it walks the user though how a well made GUI looks like, which is very important for my program, as I will have a lot of options that twill need to be easy to understand and sort though.
“Fahrenheit and Celsius Conversion Formulas.” Fahrenheit and Celsius Conversion Formulas. Albireo.ch, n.d. Web. <http://www.albireo.ch/temperatureconverter/formula.htm&gt;.

I have taken the photos of the conversion formulas from this site to add to my program for an educational element for the user, and used the example conversions to help me program the actual math of my conversion in VB
“Opening, Closing, and Hiding Forms with Visual Basic .NET.” For Dummies. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/opening-closing-and-hiding-forms-with-visual-basic.html&gt;.

After I had begun programming, whenever I would run my program and then close the forms, the program would still be running in the background, not allowing me to edit it without manually closing it. using this guide, I programmed the ‘quit/exit’ buttons to completely stop the program when clicked, instead of just closing the form.

E1: Evaluation of the program

Personal evaluation of the program:

My Program conformed well to my design specification, which is as follows:

My unit converter will need to be able to convert units form the customary system into the metric system and from the metric system into the Customary system. It will require a place to input initial values, a place that outputs the converted value,  the ability to select which units will be converted, and it must also show the formula of how to convert, or what one unit equals in it’s corresponding system. It will need to be simple enough to not confuse the user or clutter the interface with buttons, text boxes, or other design elements, and will have to progress in a logical manner for conversion.

All of the conversions in my program convert between both measurement systems as required  and I successfully was able to create input and output sections for all units, except for the time conversions, which proved to be extremely complicated, and I elected to have a conversion chart in the place of an actual calculator, but only for the time values. all other conversions align with this requirement. the GUI is very simple, without cluttering and unnecessary details, but still gets the job done and guides the user easily through the program  All conversions have some form of formula or explanation as to how to convert manually, but those unfortunately, do not take full attention as I had initially hoped, but they have also not become completely obsolete.

Peer evaluation:

You’re program was very neat to look at and very nice and easy. Only thing is that I think you took the easy route in making this project

(this is true, I did not really want to do anything extremely challenging this unit)

D1: Process journal (January 9)

January 9

Created the base of the interactive screens and linked the buttons on the first form to open the other forms. Due to miles per hour – kilometers per hours being the same conversion as miles- kilometers, I also chose to remove the ‘speed’ category form my converter.

Code written:jan9 1

From button: Temperature

jan9 2

From button: Distance

jan9 3

From Button: Time

jan9 4

From Button: Mass

jan9 5

Click to view full sizeClick to view full size

  Description Time
1 Design GUI (choose design) 30 minutes (complete)
2 Load form with GUI 45 minutes
3 Program text boxes, allow user to insert type 45 minutes
4 Program calculation steps (conversion-specific) 1 Class/90+ minutes
5 Run/Test program (using random variables chosen by me to test accuracy of calculations) 45-90 minutes
6 Save/Publish program 5 minutes