Capstone Project - Sanctuary Secretary

January 25th, 2017

Header image from my capstone project

For the past three and a half weeks, I have been working on my Capstone project, which is the culmination of my classroom time at Ada Developers Academy. We were allowed to choose what we wanted to do and what technology we wanted to use. My primary goal was to learn new technology, so I went with Flask, Python, and React. During class, we used Rails, Ruby, and Backbone. So, nothing was in common with what I'd done so far.

After an extraordinarily frustrating week and a half, I deleted every single file and started from scratch. What I was doing simply was not working. I was trying too hard to blur the line between front and back end, which just made things overly complicated. I ended up using Flask and Python for my API and React for my user experience, which was the strategy I should have taken in the first place. Live and learn ...

My project is a website for small-scale animal sanctuaries that allows them to keep track of the medical, behavioral, and other needs of their residents. Similar products exist for larger organizations, but those tend to be either expensive, difficult to learn, or both. My site is free and (I think) fairly intuitive. Alas, given the time constraints, I had to eliminate a lot of the features I wanted to have. For instance, I wanted sanctuaries to be able to log in using Google OAuth, so the site could handle more than one group. And I wanted calendar functionality similar to what Google provides, where users can click on a day and add the tasks that are due. Alas, neither of these are in the first version of my website.

Overall, I learned a lot during the past month, especially about letting things go. While I wouldn't say it was a mistake to take on so many new technologies when simultaneously doing a project that meant a lot to me personally, it definitely led to some unique challenges. During the first three weeks of Capstone, I literally cried every single day but one. It's been rough. But I'm done (for now) and ready to present my project on Friday. Here it is, just in case you're curious - Sanctuary Secretary. And if you're interested in the code, that's here.