Week 6 arrived at Makers and finally we started working in groups! I’ve enjoyed pairing, but now that we’ve learnt just enough to take on all aspects of web development, working in groups feels so much more efficient. I had a lot of fun this week and was fortunate to be grouped with great coders, who I knew I would enjoy working with.
We were set with the challenge to build ‘Makers BnB’, an Airbnb clone, and we were free to use whatever technology we wanted. We had two choices really – Rails or Node.js. Airbnb is actually built on Rails. It’s suited to it. So why did we end up choosing Node?
Mapping out our project
We spent our first day breaking down our user stories, getting to know how our Waffle board worked and setting up our environments. This was really valuable. We all had a rough idea of how everything was going to fit together and what steps would require what. We invested a lot of time in this and it really paid off since it meant that when we did start, we started on the right foot.
Our first challenge was probably working out how we were going to divide the workload. Would we break it up into front-end and back-end? Would we just mob the whole thing? What could we work on without interfering with what someone else was working on getting merge conflicts?
We decided to mob the first part of the project so that we all knew how it worked as a whole. This meant that we wouldn’t have to divide up working on front-end and back-end and only understanding half of the application. This is possibly not the most effective way to achieve MVP, but it satisfied our goals for the week.
Sequelize also posed a few problems. Although there’s a lot of information in the docs, it was difficult finding examples for what we needed. And when things didn’t work how we wanted them to, for example, our database cleaner, we found it difficult to identify why suggested solutions weren’t working.
For me, not finishing a project is hard. And as of writing this blog post, there’s still some work to be done (you can see our project repo here). I definitely want to come back and add in the messaging functionality, perhaps a page where you could view your bookings and tidy up the CSS.
Stick to the user stories: we spent a lot of time adding functionality that hadn’t been asked for, e.g. password encryption. This was useful for learning, but ultimately sacrificed time that could have been spent developing features. If our client had been presenting their idea to investors and didn’t have a basic functioning mock up of their website, I can’t imagine they’d be too pleased.
Celebrate the wins: even the smallest. This really helped keep our spirits high and it felt like we were constantly achieving. Using our waffle board really helped too. Sometimes it felt like we’d been stuck on something too long and achieved little, but we just had to glance at waffle to see that we’d accomplished a lot.
Don’t be afraid: to take on new technologies, to admit you don’t understand, to ask questions, to have fun!