The Interactive Dishwasher
a.k.a. The Kitchen Sink
by Chris F.A. Johnson
Toronto Transit Schedules
A few years ago, when I moved into my current apartment, I needed to look up the local bus schedules. The Toronto Transit Commission's web site has all the information, but in a most annoying fashion. All the bus and streetcar routes are listed, by number, in a single drop-down list.
That's a list of 359 items (each direction has a separate listing). It's not listed alphabetically by name, which is how most people want to look up a route. I've never taken the Rogers Road bus, for example; I don't know that it's number 161. To find it I have to scroll more than half way down a long list, reading each entry.
Once I found my route, I tried to bookmark the page. Unfortunately, the site uses frames, and it is not possible to bookmark the frame I need. (That's not quite true; but it is a nuisance to have to go through the rigamarole. Most browsers allow selecting a frame and opening it by itself. That frame can then be bookmarked.)
I looked at the source code for the page, and I thought that it wouldn't be too difficult to reorganize it in a better way. I set to work, and in fairly short order, I had a working replacement, with an alphabetical listing divided by first letter.
There were some bugs (streetcar routes, for example, did not provide the schedule; I don't know whether the TTC changed the naming scheme for those pages, but they now work with the same scheme as the rest of the regular routes).
I have now reworked the design of the main page using a cascading stylesheet (CSS) for layout instead of a table. The schedules themselves, while using almost the same code as the TTC site itself, have been tweaked so that they conform to the strict HTML 4.01 standard. The stylesheets conform to the CSS 2.1 standard.
Work is needed on the 400 series "community bus routes". I'll take care of that presently.