This site is aimed at medical students, language students, tourists and anyone who needs to look up translations of medical or general terms in either Chinese or English. The site is a work in progress and, although it currently contains only a small number of tools, more functionality will be added over time, including a number of language learning tools.
The Original Site
The original version of chinameddict.com & yixuecidian.com went live in September 2011. It was written using a mixture of Word Press, JSP and Java Servlets. There were three distinct sites (chinameddict.com, yixuecidian.com & a mobile version), all sucking the life out of overpriced Tomcat & Apache HTTP servers. The problem (one among many) with my approach was that the servlets were just eating up memory, database connections were crashing because I was making way too many requests per http request for character to image conversion, and hosting costs were becoming more and more expensive.
For these reasons, I closed down the site at the end of summer 2012.
I decided to go back to the drawing board and start again.
This time the site sits entirely on a PHP framework called Symfony2.
This handles the back end of the site, database connections, translations etc.
For the front end presentation, I opted for Twitter Bootstrap because of its clear, stylish design and also for its responsiveness to different devices, allowing appropriate presentation for desktops, tablets and mobile devices.
Employing both Symfony2 and Twitter Bootstrap now means that there is one single, very structured site and not three poorly organised sites.
Symfony2's translation feature coupled with its templating engine, Twig, allow for seamless switching between English and Chinese, and vice versa, on any page on the site.
I have tried, as much as possible, to make the site accessible to those with visual impairments. The majority of the site is in plain text with colours intended to be easy on the eyes. The text size can be easily increased.
Breadcrumbs (e.g. “Home / .../...” ) were added to allow easy navigation backwards without having to revert to the main menu. The user’s locale is automatically detected and either the Chinese or English version is automatically presented depending on the user’s browser settings. This can be changed on the site at any time and will be remembered for your current session.
This site has been, and will continue to be, a work in progress. Now that it has a solid robust framework at its core, as well as a responsive presentation layer, the site has the capacity to grow seamlessly over the next few years.
I have been working hard to improve all aspects of the site but I have not been alone in doing this. I have had great help along the way from family, friends and even altruistic strangers.
Thanks to you all.
A HUGE THANKS to:
- My sister Rita (Reets)
- My brother-in-law Yong (Yongzer!!)
- My dear friend Li Xiaoli 李晓莉
- My dear friend Shila.