Addressing Environmental Issues

In Week 5 of Greening the Economy, Sustainable Cities course on Coursera, Jennifer Lenhart gives three useful ways to influence people to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

Shift Barriers: If the barriers to adoption of public transport are its unpredictability, suggest ways to work around that limitation.

Work with Local Leaders: Take the help of Local Leaders who are respected in the community.

Target Specific Groups: Instead of sending out a generic message target specific audience for a closer connect

Storing Message Strings in a Relational Database or Not

We have an application that showed different messages to the user depending upon her state of application use. These messages were stored in a MySQL database. That must have been an obvious place to store text initially. However with time I have felt plain text files could have worked as well, if not better. –

  • Text lookup does not require a connect followed by a query or perhaps less of it.
  • Text changes don’t require database upgrades and the corresponding times.
  • Text can be compared easily with prior versions. With a database that could require restoring from a backup, exporting data and then comparing it.
  • Development tools provide extensive infrastructure for managing translations in text files. This has to be retrofitted, if at all used, when text is inside a database.

Not Losing Translations

  • Use plain text: Use it over any proprietary format. This will simplify review of edits otherwise you may end up reviewing the entire documents over and over
  • Source control: Apart from its other benefits, it will make sure everyone has the right version.
  • Standardize: Use a standard translation for different words/phrases. This will help find/replace when if you want to revisit/change.
  • Size: On most platforms non English text takes at least twice the space. If there are size constraints, know them early
  • Simplify: Prefer simple day to day language over a literary masterpiece. This not only makes it easy for your audience but can sometimes lower translation costs.