Developer's Corner - Between the Code

Welcome to Developer's Corner - Between the Code! This is a blog run by the Director of Development. Here, we will discuss the status of OWL's development branch known as the Hub of OWL Operational Technology, or HOOT for short. For those who never heard of HOOT, it started back in 2004 as the HOOT Project or internally known as the "HOOT Group" before becoming fully integrated into OWL as its development branch in 2007. HOOT is responsible for maintaning OWL's website and provide members a friendly environment to practice coding and development. Below is a collections of videos that were made to help members to help members get started on the OWL website. There is also a tab of blog posts from the current and previous directors in reverse chronological order so the newest info will be easy to access. Thank you!

intro video video 1 video 2 video 3

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: COVID-19 & HOOT

Hello all.

Unfortunately, as you may be able to tell, we are 3 months into the semester and this is the first blog post in my time as the DoD. Development of most new ideas for the website have been almost completely halted or slowed as a result of COVID-19. Difficulties in managing off-site work on the website have made this a necessary reality. However, while COVID-19 persists, work will once again begin on the website very soon. Video briefings for HOOT members will be in the works as soon as meaningful work on projects can begin as well. The OWL-FSS has taken a back seat as a project to work on until completion while website maintenance/updates continue. Most important of all though, this pandemic is in the process of revealing its ugly face once more as I write this with the commencement of it's third wave. Focus for this reason will be the ease of use for users in the safety of their homes.

Thank you for reading,
Victor Alvarez

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: Changing of the OWL Board

On May 1st the OWL board for the 2020-2021 school year was announced on our social media pages. I want to congratulate everyone on the new OWL board and also give a shout out to the previous board for their hard work, especially to Nolan, Elizabeth, and James who, along with myself, have graduated from OU with degrees in Meteorology. Now the maintenance and development of the OWL website along with leading HOOT falls to the new Director of Development Victor Alvarez and Deputy of Development Bruce Pollock. Both of them have proven themselves to be dedicated to OWL/HOOT and I know with them working in development we are in good hands. I wish them the best of luck and I cannot wait to see what they do next!

If you ever want to talk to a a former director of development you can find contact info for me at my website: Joshua Schank's Website.

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: Website Update

On March 03, 2020, Victor Alvarez and myself (Joshua Schank) have finally finished development of the attendance page. This attendance page may not be all that useful to our current Director of Outreach, but I believe this will make tracking attendance to determine voting eligibility of members much easier in the future.

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: First HOOT Meeting of 2020

As we enter the spring semester of the 2019-2020 school year it is time to get organized and set goals for the rest of the year. The main goal is to continue development of the attendance and forecast pages on the website. I hope students will use this as a learning experience on how to work with PHP code and MYSQL databases and statements to create user-interactive webpages that will also help shift leaders with their duties. The second goal is to begin the process of recompiling the OWL WRF on our servers. I want the OWL/HOOT website to be a useful tool for our student forecasters and a learning experience for all our members where they can become comfortable with web design and learning how to intergrate computer programing into learning how to forecast.

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: HOOT's Website

As we move closer to the end of the fall semester I have decided to start the process of rebuilding HOOT's website. Starting today, I will create a simple homepage for HOOT's website by using the template I created to build OWL's website, so the navigation bar will have links related to OWL's website but they will be replaced as members start to create products and the OWL WRF model is fixed and outputs are availabe for our forecasters. I will also add a link to HOOT in the navigation bar.

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: Thundersnow and the OWL WRF

I finally have access to the Thundersnow folder and the OWL WRF, so hopefully in the upcoming weeks HOOT will be able to start rebuilding our section of the website and produce products from the model that can be used by OWL forecasters.

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: Recap of HOOT's First Meeting

I want to thank everyone who attended our first meeting this past Thursday! We had 14 people attend and the main goal of the meeting was to outline the goals for HOOT for the year and setup accounts on OU Create, so members can practice making their own websites. Moving foward, I want to help walk members through how to design and develop websites. Though our main goal at the moment is learning how to maintain OWL's website, I want members to also think about other projects they may want to develop that can be someday added to our website. One of these projects that I hope everyone is excited about is OWL's WRF model. Our WRF model has been inactive since 2015, but the time has come to restart the project and rebuild the HOOT section of the website.

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: First HOOT Meeting

I am please to announce that we have finalized the date for the first HOOT meeting! The first HOOT meeting will take place Thursday, September 19, 2019 from 5-7 pm. Currently, we plan to hold the meeting in NWC 5720 or better known as the Linux Lab on the fifth floor of the National Weather Center. I hope everyone who is interested in HOOT will be able to attend. If you cannot make it but still want to be invloved please contact me after the meeting, so we can have a mini meeting to go over that meeting's lessons and the goals for HOOT. I can be contacted through groupme or you can contact me through my school email (which can be found in the footer of this page).

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: What is on the Horizon for OWL and HOOT?

Hello everyone! We are almost through the first full week of shifts and it looks like the website is being used, so that is a plus. While talking about the website, I finally finshed the forecast discussion update that will allow each shift to update the discussions just by using the web browser, instead of logging into the server directly. I hope this will make it easier for the shift leaders and allow them to focus on other tasks without having to take up time trying to connect to the server and finding the files they need to update. The next big project for HOOT involving the website is to create a working attendance system to help our Director of Outreach, Elizabeth, keep track of our membership standings for OWL.

Next Thursday, August 29 at 6:30 PM CDT, is the OU SCAN and OWL Collaborative Meeting where you can learn more about each student orgainization, enjoy some food, and then watch the movie Twister. For those wondering about HOOT and when you can learn more about it you are in luck. Unless there is a change in our schedule, the first HOOT meeting is planned for Thursday, September 12, two weeks after the OU SCAN/OWL meeting. I will give out more details as I have more concrete information to give out. I want to thank everyone for the strong start of OWL this school year and thank the Shift Leaders for being patient with me as I continue to work on the website!

Developer's Corner - Between the Code: The Need for HOOT

As OWL enters the 2019-2020 school year and continues to evolve it has become clear that our development branch, Hub of OWL Operational Technology (HOOT), must be revived to continue our growth. HOOT started back in 2004 as the HOOT Project or internally known as the "HOOT Group". The project revamped OWL's website and created products to help our forecasters make better forecasts and access data faster. HOOT became fully integrated into OWL as its development branch in 2007 and became responsible in maintaining OWL's website. Slowly, HOOT started to become inactive after launching its own website, which became a one stop site for our forecasters as they could pull data from different models and access the products that HOOT had created throughout the years. 2007-2014 was a calm period for OWL as the hard work of previous members gave OWL stability and a wide range of tools to provide its members with a great forecasting experience. Sometime in 2015, the servers that hosted the OWL and HOOT websites were upgrade, however this upgrade caused the two websites to crash. By this time HOOT was a shell of its former self and it lacked the resources to handle such a devastating lost of 10+ years of hard work as HOOT only had two members and both graduated that year.

As Director of Development, it is my duty to maintain OWL's website and the various systems within our lab. It is also my duty to lead HOOT and guide our members as they practice coding and development in a friendly enviroment. My first step in fulfilling my duties was the development of this website for OWL. Now I want to focus my attention to HOOT so this website and OWL's systems are maintained well into the future. For the current students at OU and the incoming freshmen and transfer students who are interested in HOOT, please vist the OWL Lab on the first floor of the National Weather Center once school starts to learn more about our organization and show interest in helping revive HOOT. Pay attention to our social media pages to learn when OWL's first general meeting will take place, so you can show interest and help determine when the HOOT meeting will take place.

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