I am so, so excited to share this project after having worked on it in earnest for quite some time. The intial idea came to me back in February of 2014 when I was frustrated by the lack of helpful information for ferry-goers here in Bermuda. I decided to make something to fill the niche.
My goal was to build a clean, fast web app that accepts a "From" and a "To" location as well as the intended date of travel. The app would then display all possible routes (and connecting terminals, if applicable) along with fare information.
The first version used a MySQL backend that parsed individual route departure times to string together valid travel routes. While the system did work, I was unhappy with the unnecessary database connection. I was sure that there had to be a quicker way of determining departure and arrival times.
After significant re-thinking I determined that multidimensional associative arrays in php would be a more stable, intuitive solution. This led to several dozen hours of data entry in order to ensure that routes would be correct down to the exact minute.
Figuring out the backend data arrays and populating them with route info took about 3 weeks; coding the front-facing website itself took approximately 1 week.
The website itself integrates flat design elements with simple iconography and navigational layout. Text is large and san-serif so as to be welcoming, unpretentious and easy-to-read. I decided to use Mapbox instead of Google Maps to carry the flat style throughout (not to mention the Mapbox GUI is gloriously user-friendly). I went with simple dual-gradient buttons and nav bar.
Please visit www.ferry.bermudamapp.com to see the working web app. I welcome any feedback, especially related to performance.