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Two Recently Updated Distance Calculators

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I recently updated the Tuscarora Trail Distance Calculator as well as the Mason-Dixon Trail Distance Calculator within the

JavaScript Area

on this site. It seems that lately, these applications are the most popular on .

Here's a brief history on the evolution of these apps. While working at


in the early 1990's as a front end developer we had a travel agency client that wanted a form that had two list boxes on it. The left side list box had general categories of travel such as Fall Getaways, Winery Vacations, Backpacking Packages, etc. When one clicked on the left side list box, a list of related packages would appear within the right side list box. This period of time was when AOL was still a 'walled garden' and did not let their customers access the internet. And up until then all AOL proprietary screens only had one list box on them. So we had to design a solution for this client. We did it and the app worked very well.

In 1999 I got to take a six month sabatical from AOL. I chose to hike the

Appalachian Trail

during that time. I took my time and only did 625 miles. I was thinking while doing this hike how one could easily look up distances on the AT without having to look up data or use (at the time) cumbersome GPS units.

So I remembered this double list box design from the early 1990's and, when I got back home, I got a website of my own and wrote the Appalachian Trail Distance Calulator in Perl in 1999. I maintained it for 10 years and updated it each year. In 2010 I handed this app off to Randy Rowell of NC. He has been maintaining it ever since. You can access his version of the app

Here .

Due to some financial difficulties I gave up my original website and didn't think that I would ever have another website nor do any more distance calculators. However, in 2011 I became involved with the

Mason-Dixon Trail System .

I thought that it would be neat if they had a distance calculator like I had designed for the AT on their web site. So I wrote a distance calculator for the Mason-Dixon Trail in PA, MD and DE.

I worked with the webmaster of their website but learned that the web site that they had was very basic and did not have a means for having interactive web pages that utilized a cgi-bin directory. So what do I do now?

At that time I was working at CGI Federal as a system admin. One day I was playing with this distance calculator at work (probably a no-no) when one of the developers named Ary Rodriguez walked by my desk and asked me what I was working on. I told him about this distance calculator for the Mason-Dixon Trail and that I could not get it to work on their web server using Perl and cgi-bin. Ary was a wiz at JavaScript. He said that you should not have to post your query to a second page to get results and that he could do this on one web page using JavaScript. So he did the basic coding of this app, I added the waypoints, tweaked the code a bit, added the front end particulars and BANG, we had a Mason-Dixon Trail Distance Calculator that worked using just one web page instead of two and did not need a cgi-bin directory.

It worked well. I took over the Mason-Dixon Trail website when their webmaster became very ill in 2014. I passed this site onto someone else in 2018.

I got the urge to get my own website again in 2017. I posted various hiking trip logs on it as well as the Mason-Dixon Trail Distance Calculator. I then created distance calculators for the Bull Run/Occoquan Trail, the W&OD Trail and the Jerry Connoly Cross County Trail in VA as well as the Tuscarora Trail in PA/MD/WV/VA and the C&O Towpath Trail in MD. The C&O Canal and W&OD Trail distance calculators have been the most popular webpages on .

Since retiring I have created a few web sites for non profit entities. It's been fun and has kept my brain working in retirement creating these websites as well as these distance calcula questions and suggestions for additional waypoints for the calculators. And Randy has done a good job maintaining the AT Distance Calculator. I'm not making a lot of money on this site from the ads but this web stuff has been a fun experience.

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Posted By Mike C on 02-15-2021   |    See All Posts   |   View/Add Comments(0)

<<Mikeblogs Home  |  |  Updated 01/23/2021 04:12:33