Tuesday 28 March 2017

New Web App: Target Creator

Quick Link

The application can be found at http://targetcreator.darkmidnight.co.uk

Years ago I used to have an air rifle and spent a lot of time target shooting. When I wasn't competing, I'd enjoy coming up with different target arrangements and challenges to add variety – some favourites included things like popping balloons, trying to snap a thread to drop a weight (cowboy-movie hangman style), and trying to shoot through the centre spindle hole of a CD without touching the disc itself (Remember those AOL promotional CDs they’d put through the door? Guess where mine went..)

This was about the same time that I was learning to program, so naturally the two hobbies intersected, and one of the first applications I wrote was a target creator that not only allowed me to print paper targets from home, but also customise them by changing the diameter of the rings/bullseye, change colours, put multiple smaller targets on a single page, etc.

The application was a Java desktop application – nothing particularly ground breaking, but for an early project, I was proud of it.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago, and I was sorting through a bunch of old stuff in storage, and happened to find a printout of a couple of pages of the programs source code (I don’t remember why I printed it, but apparently I did). Hit with a wave of nostalgia, I thought I’d rebuild a modern version of it.

In the years since I made the original, many desktop applications have given way to the rise of web-apps, so I decided to take it in the same direction. The core of the new version is rebuilt from the original, but as a web-app, it doesn’t have direct access to printers, so now it produces a PDF instead. I also added in a QR code function so that you can in effect ‘save’ chosen settings for a target to return to it to print more later, and the ability to switch between A4 and US Letter sized paper.

The application can be found at http://targetcreator.darkmidnight.co.uk

  • Select your chosen unit of measurement – imperial (inches) or metric (centimetres)
  • Select your paper size - A4 or US Letter
  • Set the first rings diameter, and select it’s colour.
  • Either select “Use the same thickness for all rings” or repeat the above for rings 2-9, also selecting their colours.
  • Do the same for the bullseye.
  • Chose your additional options – either a single target centered on the page, or fit as many as possible onto the page.
  • Choose if you want a QR code appended to the corner of the PDF to easily recall your chosen settings.
  • Then click Generate to produce the PDF, which you can then print.

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