BEFORE YOU START: Please note that although I currently volunteer for both the Stroke Association and Age UK, the views expressed in this blog are strictly my own. I am not a spokesperson for either (or, indeed, for any) organisation, and I accept complete responsibility for the views expressed herein. As indicated by the domain name, I am based in the UK and the blog therefore has a UK bias - I've tried to use the Glossary to explain any ambiguous terms, but if you think there is anything I've missed, please message me.

Monday, 11 March 2019


I was just looking, and surprisingly didn't write anything about my software release last week, so here goes:

Last week I released Diem, which is the culmination of about 6 months work. I started writing it mainly to sharpen up my own development skills, so it relies very much on the technologies I was used to, and it was very much an application which, initially, was geared at helping me personally. Later, it grew to something I've released, when I realised it might help other people too.

I call it a Diabetes Tracker. I toyed with the idea of a "diabetes manager", but actually, we manage our own diabetes and this app doesn't remove the need for that. So I chose "tracker" because it does exactly that. It stores glucometer measurements, so you can refer to something, say, a year ago, and compare your values. It plots them in graphs too, to try and make things more obvious.

For a lot of people, they still produce enough insulin so their sugar level is pretty constant, so, again, of limited value. Other people will prick their fingers and take insulin many times per day, so an app which gives an average over 50 days is probably of limited use. But my sugar can vary by several units, so worthwhile for me. I'm aware that we in the UK use a unit called mmol/l, which, worldwide, is not very common, so I had to get a grip of the American unit, mg/dl, to cover my bases. In fact, my app just allows a user to present data to it in either of these units, then internally does a conversion to store everything in just a single unit, which allows statistics to be calculated using *all* recent data, regardless of unit.

So it was useful for me not just in terms of technical skills, but also in terms of expanding my diabetes knowledge. In fact I toyed with the idea of buying a glucometer in these other units, just because I understand them now. I might still do that, although I don't need a glucometer at the moment.

So anyway, I'm at something of a loose end at the moment - I don't want to start building more into the app just in case somebody reports a bug that I need to fix urgently - but there are a few other things I want to do, not least release it as an app for Android or iPad - it's Windows initially (again, reflects my background) and right now I don't have much idea either how to port it, or how big a job that will be. I'm looking at Xamarin, but I'm currently just looking at the possibilities, without any clear task. One area that would be quite straightforward is that I want to be able to capture medication and doses, another thing which will be a pita, but do-able, is to move the display away from a tabbed front end (which will be unsustainable as the app grows) toward a standard menu structure, maybe even a ribbon!

I built a web site for this product, and made it a free download, just in the hope that it'll help other people. I'm hopeful that the act of developing the app will lead to some personal gain, just in terms of making me employable, but the app itself should be free - I don't want to dangle a corrot then put a barrier in front of people. http://www.diemware.com.


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