Week 5 and beyond

I don’t know if anybody actually reads this thing (don’t think so), but I have not posted for a few weeks despite planning/hoping to. So what have I been doing? Let’s see…

Trip Planner

I spent much of the first week after my last post (therefore about 3 weeks ago) working on a project called ‘Trip Planner’. This is exactly what it sounds like- a website that will allow you to plan a trip based on lists of hotels, attractions/things to do, and restaurants. The website I built was focused on Lower Manhattan with pre-populated lists of items but it would be interesting to extend it to more places based on Google maps data or crawling the web for information on a place that a user selects.

The application was made with the Google Maps API, JQuery, and Javascript on the frontend plus Express, Node, and MongoDB on the backend. Difficulties included figuring out how to make AJAX requests from the frontend to the backend, how to manage and maintain a fairly large amount of code, and how to deal with persistence. Here is a screenshot of the application with some data in it-

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Learning Angular

After working on Trip Planner and realizing both the good and the bad about JQuery, I spent the next week at Fullstack Academy learning something completely new- Angular.JS. I have only used Angular for a couple of weeks now but I am definitely a fan. It does some stuff in a pretty odd way, but generally, I find that it is an awesome front-end framework. Perhaps I will devote a future blog post on more about Angular, but for now, a few of my favorite things- ng-faves if you will:

  • using ng-repeat to create multiple elements using the items in an array. For example, if you have an array of objects - states= [ {name: ‘California’, houseOfReps: 53}, {name: ‘New Jesey’, houseOfReps: 12}, {name: ‘Texas’. houseOfReps: 36} ] - you can use ng-repeat="state in states"<p>{{state.name}}:{{state.houseOfReps}}</p> to display the data in your array. This can be really powerful and allow you to display information without having repeated HTML tags.
  • using factories and $http (an angular service) to make AJAX requests. For example, you can use $http.get for GET requests and so on
  • using filters (either those that come with Angular or your own custom filters) to filter your data. For example, if you want to order the state in your states array in Alphabetical order, you can do
  •  `ng-repeat=”state in states | orderBy: ‘name’”<p>{{state.name}}</p>

Angular is definitely more powerful than just the features I listed above and I have had a pretty good experience using it so far. It has cut down on the amount of HTML and code in general I’ve had to write. I would recommend checking out its documentation and website at https://angularjs.org/ for more information.


Week 7 of Fullstack Academy is ‘review week.’ It is basically a break from classes and official projects and workshops before the second half of the program (the senior phase which is focused more on larger projects). I knew I wanted to spend review week working on a project rather than just randomly reviewing things from the previous six weeks. I worked on a pretty cool project with Munzi Codes called WhoStack. The idea is based on the fact that people often have the challenge of learning other peoples names, whether it be those of students or classmates like those at Fullstack or those of coworkers. It was the first project that either of us had built from scratch and it was a great experience where I think we both learned a lot. We used the Slack API (Slack is a chat application that a lot of startups and companies in general use for communication) to get data. I would urge you to check out Sarah’s blog (http://munzicodes.com/) as she has a better description of the project as well as some of our next steps and challenges and also because it is a great technical blog in general. WhoStack is now live on Heroku at https://whostack.herokuapp.com/ and I hope you check it out! Anybody with a Slack account can authenticate through Slack and then use the app. Our source code is available as well on Github at https://github.com/seemaullal/WhoStack. My next post will likely be on Express sessions, authentication with an external API, and some of the other things I learned from building WhoStack.

Tomorrow marks the start of the Senior phase of Fullstack. Can’t believe it has already been 7 weeks and we have 6 more to go. The first week or so of the senior phase is a project called StackStore where we are going to build an e-commerce site in small groups. I am excited to work on bigger projects and dive even deeper into the world of the MEAN stack and web applications. :)

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