Refactoring Meteorology's Online Weather Center
Arts and Sciences
Computer and Information Sciences
Chris Zeniecki, 0000-0002-1895-3577; Dusten Knull, 0000-0003-3278-2855; Colin Braun, 0000-0002-1788-7061;
The Valparaiso University Meteorology Department uses their own website to display radar and satellite image data as well as data from files students collect and generate. While the clickable menus and controllable animated image loops make this site functional and easily accessible, the design and layout of the current site is very inconsistent with the main Valparaiso website. Challenges faced when the project began, we attempted to breakdown the legacy code for the formatting of the home Valparaiso website, which included very unorganized style sheets and extraneous unused code. Also, some of the underlying functions in their current state are difficult to maintain and expand upon. We looked at multiple alternatives to fix the site’s underlying structure, mostly three modern web frameworks known as Rails, Spring Boot, and Django. The final choice was to utilize Django to restructure the site, because of how lightweight it is and because it is written primarily in Python, a versatile programming language that both our group and the Meteorology department had experience with. By providing a new back end using the Django web framework, the website now has clean, reusable, and easily understandable code that is built in modules with potential for ease of expansion. This was accomplished by identifying individual web pages as Django miniature applications, which represent sub-components of the website, and by making heavy use of the template generation engine provided by Django, which has allowed the front-end to also be easily reusable as well as being much more lightweight.
Zenieck, Chris; Knull, Dusten; and Braun, Colin, "Refactoring Meteorology's Online Weather Center" (2019). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 819.