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Melbourne Train Tracker temporarily unavailable. (18/07/2012 08:20:46 PM)

Hi All,

Melbourne Train Tracker is having it's fair share of delays since Metro released a new version of their website. Since Metro removed their iPhone version of the website (the page on their website with the lowest data requirements), Melbourne Train Tracker is unable to download updates (in fact, if you try to load the application, the message in the Toast Notification bar area will say it was unable to download updates).

There won't be any visible crashes within the application, but the application will show the last set of updates (which is probably from Sunday with the Glen Waverley bus replacement constantly highlighted red). Unfortunately, I'm suspecting some bad reviews flooding in for my application - perhaps this is something I should have looked at peering first and definitely something on the agenda for the next version of the Train Tracker.

The good news though is I was able to quickly remedy the solution by finding an alternative data source that is actually smaller than the original iPhone page - and even includes the time the update was released! (Should be handy for those that do make use of the Live Tile - I sure know it's my favourite way to keep up to date with my train lines!). I've also put a new colour in for the disruptions - yellow indicates a minor delay (I'm hoping the colour should be easy to read, and if not - feel free to hassle me on Twitter or via e-mail!!!) with red to indicate all other delays. Tonight for instance, the Glen Waverley line has all of the information pertaining to Bus Replacements for the next couple of nights coloured red - but earlier today was coloured Mango Orange when a train was only 15 minutes late.

Anyway, I have re-submitted the application this-morning after writing new logic to read the new website for delay data and hopefully that's published very shortly (not sure when updates will hit, but let's hope very soon!!!).

I have not given up on Version 2.0 of the Train Tracker, but I've had a large amount of work on my plate in the last month - at least it's easing up now. I plan on dedicating part of this weekend to fast-tracking the second version which includes Timetable data (which is pretty much clean now), a way to make that data available Offline (something substantially more tricky to manage), find your closest 5 stations and a way to view scheduled runs.

It won't yet have the logic to do any form of Journey Planning (I could write some path writing algorithms, but I'm pretty sure the first generation Windows Phones will absolutely crack the sads - and I'd hope you're planning the journeys before leaving!!!), but perhaps that can be an enhancement for Version 2.1.

So how will it work? At this stage, you simply select the train station you want to get a train from, and it'll list the next two trains and their countdown to when they're supposed to leave (you could flip a coin as to how accurate that will be though ;) - at this stage, I'm not aware of any system I can hook into to extract delay information). It will also list the next 10 departing times as well as an indication of whether it's an express train or not.

I'm actually finding this easier myself to use (for us regular commuters, we pretty much know what station we are going to, we just want to know when the next one is departing - and if there are any delays on that line), but I also understand that there will be plenty of people out there who don't. I'd like to investigate a "Route" option rather than a Journey Planner (for those who are unfamiliar with the public transport network, I would urge to use Metlink's website directly for properly generated maps etc...) that can list the next trains, what time those trains meet up with a station on your map and what time those trains depart from. Not entirely sure yet.

Anyway, enough waffle from me -time to wait for Microsoft to approve the update.

Craig Mattson. 

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