Anthropomotron is Back!

{ Go straight to Anthropomotron! }

I am very happy to announce that I have completely remade Anthropomotron to be a modern web app. I first made Anthropomotron in 2004 using Apple’s Xcode and Applescript. Anthropomotron has not aged well as Apple basically left Applescript-based apps on the wayside, and oh yeah, the iPhone happened and changed everything. Now small apps with very particular tasks are all the rage and they work anywhere one has a cellphone connection.

{ Old Anthropomotron }

After graduating last May, I decided that Anthropomotron has a place in the modern computing world. It would be so much more useful if it worked on more devices, especially portable ones. Biological anthropology has also changed a little since 2004, with new techniques to estimate stature and body mass based on bone measurements. The problem with this goal is that I needed to learn how to program an app. A student in the anthro department posted on Facebook about JQTouch, a kind of shortcut for using Javascript to make a smartphone app. JQTouch automates a lot of tasks specific to phone apps, such as incorporating swipe motions and animations into the design, so it lowered the programming bar to a level that I could reach with some work. I had to learn Javascript!

I picked up what I needed to know about Javascript by searching the web and reading a few books from the public library. One of the hardest parts of the process is learning what question I need to ask in order to find a solution. For example, I picked up ways of programming menus that change their choices based on other menus, how to selectively hide or show different text instructions, and how to do the appropriate calculation based on what data were entered. It’s taken me from last summer to now to get the new Anthropomotron to a presentable state. On most weekdays I come home from work and spend an hour or two on the project and it grew from there.

{ The new Anthropomotron! }

The new Anthropomotron is geared to work on the mobile web (like your smartphone), but it works fine on computers as well. As long as you don’t use Internet Explorer, anyway (the 15% of you visitors who use IE should switch anyway!).

Soon I will submit Anthropomotron as a self-contained app for the Apple App Store. I have a version that works running on my own iPhone, but I have to get into the details of how the app submission process works. Until then, enjoy web-Anthropomotron!

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