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Archive for July, 2008

Upcoming improvements

The mantra on Google Code’s hosting page is “Release Early, release often”. No where else does this apply more than to web applications; with traditional desktop software, releasing often means you have to have a robust upgrade solution in order to push out releases to your users. With web applications, the virtually the entire package runs on a server that you control, mitigating any such worries. (Though things like Gears help bridge the gap between web and desktop applications)

When we first launched RunTrackr our aim was a basic, yet functional application that would appeal to 90% of our users, who just wanted to create a running route and get basic stats like distance. However, it has never been our intention to stop at this.

Time permitting, we’re planning on the following improvements:

  • Training Log: Weekly/monthly/cumulative totals along with graphs and charts
  • Annotation of routes/maps to point out interesting features
  • A `Browse` section for those who would rather do this than search
  • Performance: Making the map-enabled portions of the site faster

These are just a few things we have on our minds at the moment. As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any comments! (Or post them below!)

Route Privacy options now available

RunTrackr was designed with one underlying principle in mind: To help others accomplish their fitness goals. To this end, we encourage sharing; up until this point, all routes created by all users have been public and viewable by anyone, whether they’ve registered or not.

However we also recognize that many would like to maintain their privacy online. Since one’s own running routes will naturally correlate with one’s geographic location, it is understandable that many will not want to post their routes online for all to see. To fix this, we have implemented Route Privacy options. You will now be able to mark any routes you’ve created as private, meaning only you will be able to view or do anything with them. Here’s a quick overview of the new options.

Marking a route as private

Marking a route as private can be done when creating a new route or editing an existing one. The option is a checkbox clearly marked with a Lock icon.

By default routes are not marked as private (as we encourage sharing) so you will have to check it yourself. After the route has been saved, when viewing it you will be reminded that you are the only one who can see it.

Additionally, when you view the route under “My Routes”, it will be marked as private:

It’s important to know that the best measures for ensuring online privacy is to choose a username that doesn’t match with your real one. (We never reveal your e-mail address) By default, you don’t have to supply any other personal information to RunTrackr, and we intend to keep it that way for the time being. Any other concerns can be addressed by our Privacy Policy.

Thanks, and keep RunTracking!

Announcing RunTrackr: Create and track running route distances easily!

I’ve just launched RunTrackr. (Something I hinted at a little while ago) It’s a site where you can create a running route in order to track, among other things, distances. It’s designed to be a tool to aid anyone who runs/jogs a lot, either recreationally or for training. A training log is also provided so that you can easily keep track of your running records and record your progress during training or just to watch your personal improvement.

Here’s a quick overview of what’s possible with RunTrackr as well as what we have in store for the future in terms of improvements to the site.

Adding/Creating a route

Creating a route probably the main reason you’d want to use RunTrackr. By creating a running route, you can measure its distance and keep track of it in your training log every time you run it.

RunTrackr Preview

Plotting a route is very easy; all you need to do is enter your location (Eg. “Belleville, ON”) and then click to add points. Existing points can be dragged around to alter the route. When you’re done, just click “Save Route” to finalize! You can also choose to enter a short description, tag your route with descriptive labels or rate your route’s difficulty.

Later on, I plan to add support for uploading automatically-generated routes/plots from GPS devices like those from Garmin, et al. This will make adding routes even easier for those who have access to such devices.

Searching for routes

Searching for routes is a great way to find running routes in your area submitted by other people. Simply enter a location and click “Search”.

RunTrackr Preview

If any routes are found, their location will show up on the map as markers and in the sidebar listing. Clicking on one brings up a preview of what the route looks like; clicking the preview image takes you to a full-sized view where you can see other statistics about the route.

Viewing routes

Going to the full view of a route brings up all of its details, such as the distance, description and any tags. You can also choose to add a route to your “Favourites” so that you can easily keep track of it in your Training Log.

RunTrackr Preview

Training Log

The Training Log allows you to keep track of the routes you’ve run and provides an easy way to record your progress. Here, each time you’ve run a route you can enter how long it took along with any other comments about the run. Calories burnt are automatically calculated based on an approximation that takes into account your weight and the distance.

RunTrackr Preview

The training log is very basic at this point and several improvements will be forthcoming, such as weekly/monthly/cumulative totals as with as some other statistics and graphics like charts and graphs. (Because everyone, myself included, loves colourful pictures)

Summing it up

Registration is optional but takes less than a minute and allows you to use fully use the service. We’ll be rolling out more features as times goes on. I regret not being able to launch this site earlier in the year (when the weather was starting to get nicer and people starting to get out more) but sometimes that’s just how things turn out.

As always, I welcome all feedback about RunTrackr, including any suggestions you might have about how to improve the service! In the meantime, please check out the site if you’re interested and enjoy your time there.