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evant2006

[web] not really pertaining to games but..

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Ok, so my friend who i have known for about 3-4 years asked me to help her out with her website that she owns and is just getting off the ground. I said sure. well the website is a harry potter website (yes, ik). Her site's theme has something to with the marauders map that is in the books. Well, i came up with this idea where when a visiter goes to the site, you see a map. this map would have dots representing all the visitors currently viewing the site. It would have sections like forums, ect on it and the dots would be placed in their appropriate spots on the map. When the mouse rolled over it, it would display the registered name of the person on the site, or if they aren't registered, just some generic name. My question is this: is this possible and how would it be done? I was thinking of doing a java applet. where the main page has a class that receives and displays information. It would receive two strings, a registered name, and a location. It would then, based on the location string, create a dot and put it in the appropriate location and make it so when the mouse rolls over it it displays the info. There would be a smaller program on each page of the site that would start up and it would immediately send out the registered users name and a string that is hard coded in to the main class on the main page. My question is this, how would it know the registered names. i realize this is done all the time, but i have never known how to do that. does it just search a database or what? Also, how does a java applet send out messages to a class that isn't even on the same loaded page? And how would it change where the dots are located? like if the same user changed areas of the site. Would it just check each message and if there is a duplicate registered name, it would jsut disregard the old dot and put the new info on a new dot in a different section? Am i on the right track? I think this could be a really interesting feature that would set her site apart and i think she would appreciate the help. Thanks

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It seems like a lot of work for a small site, and if it is going to be a big site then it'll be fairly impractical to do. But nonetheless if you want to give it a shot (it's sort of a neat idea --I agree)

I'd use a database to keep track of what users are logged in and what they are currently viewing. Then have just one java applet on the main page that draws the map based on this data. If you manage to get it working, make sure you link to it from here as it'd be interesting to see in action, and best of luck if you go through with it. [smile]

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This might sound a little far-fetched, but I bet you could do it with PHP! It sure would be a lot of work though, hehe. You could use a large table with the map as the background. Then get some images of of different number of dots. One dot, two dots in a group, three, four, etc until you reach a pretty large number. When you click these dot groups, you could have something pop up in a new window (or take you to another page) with the details on all the different people browsing that area. And if your site gets too large you could always use different colored dots to indicate the number of people there (green few, yellow some, red lots, etc).

Using a mysql database, track the location of all of the visitors. Run a search for visitors who are in certain locations. Depending on the number of visitors, you could have the php generate the dot images at different points on the map and the number of visitors reflects which dot-group image you use. CSS could be used to position those dot-group images within the table. :) For the database you could probably have a couple tables. One table being for the dot images and where they are supposed to be placed and another being for the current visitor sessions and where they are.

Also link me too if you get something like it working, it'd be very cool to see.

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I was about to type a reply, but it is pretty much what Talonz suggested. Of course, being I regularly work with PHP and MySQL that is a big part to base my solution on, but it seems like it would work and shouldn't be too hard to do.

Good luck with it anyway and if you need any help with the specifics don't be afraid to ask [smile]

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I've done a lot of web development during my career, over 100 sites, many with forums. I don't want to be the pessimist here, but in my experience, this could be very impractical. Now, I'm under the assumption that this is a new site without a strong user base... yet. When you start up a site like this, you get no action in the forum for a long time. You've got to spend a lot of time advertising the site before you can get a few conversations going. You're doing all of this work for something that may not even be used. My advice, keep it simple for now, perhaps with some kind of feedback page (like a blog) with some cool features (user avatars, maybe some magic-themed ideas thrown in). It would be disappointing to put all that work into the forum just to see an empty map all the time. (Debbie Downer: GWAAAH GWAAAAAAAH =b)

On the other hand, if your friend seems to be very serious about pushing to build a strong user base, your idea would be good for visitor retention. It's a great idea, but ask yourself if it's what you REALLY need. Of course, if you're being paid and she's willing to pay for it, NEVERMIND! Hehehehe

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