DBC NY Student Project: Quotemunk

Group Members

Judy Jow, Dave Kerr, Raghav Malik, and Ken Sin

Why is this app meaningful to your group?

A lot of us are avid readers and we wanted to build a tool to allow readers to discuss books and share ideas by quoting passages.

What technologies did you use and why?

We used the GoodReads and Twitter APIs, OAuth, cron jobs, Trello, Git, Github, Travis-CI, Rails, SASS and Javascript.

Describe the workflow process of your team

Our group worked in two day sprints with multiple stand-ups during the day. We did code reviews for all pull requests, ample testing, and made sure to maintain good communication.

What struggles and problems did you encounter (both technological and interpersonal)?

Problems we encountered included: non-friendly GoodReads API that required us to scrape with Nokogiri, OAuth request tokens behaving unexpectedly, trying to implement TDD while learning new technologies.

In hindsight what might you have done differently?

We would have started styling and designing sooner, and we would have spent more time upfront spiking on Twitter and GoodReads for our app before focusing our efforts on GoodReads.

What’s next? (what features would you like to add, etc.)

We would like to make the app more community oriented by having friends lists. We would like to add media queries to our app. Adding privacy to quotes. More quote sorting and book club functionality in general would be nice.

DBC NY Student Project: Percolate

Group Members

Mario Marroquin, Tim McClung, Indigo Nai, Simon Zhang

Why is this app is meaningful to your group?

In the same way the Dev Bootcamp curriculum emphasizes learning how to learn, Percolate is an exercise in meta-ideation. We wanted to create a tool where the potential for improving the world was not limited to a science, a study, or a scene. When we looked at other discussion forums we noticed the conversation streams were linear and often lost the core of the dialogue. We wanted to build a more dynamic tool to display conversations around ideas.

What technologies did you use and why?

The majority of our application is written in Javascript. There was a heavy focus on Raphael.js. Since we decided to go with a single-page application, all of our HTML, JS and CSS is loaded at once and then dynamically altered. We utilized Travis CI to continually test our project every time we committed and pushed a change onto Github. We created our own JS MVC framework.

Describe your team’s workflow process

Our group used a hybrid of a forking workflow and a feature branch workflow. We trusted TravisCI for merge validations and each used our own forks of the main repository so we could all submit pull requests. This allowed us to spend as much time as possible on feature development.

What struggles and problems did you encounter (both technological and interpersonal)?

Technologically, our biggest difficulties arose from our core app residing on a single page. Raphael exacerbated these difficulties since we had multiple canvases residing on the same page, which were in turn toggled to the front and back depending on specific event triggers. This nested event structure coupled with a Solution factory that handled both level 1 and level 2 canvas element creation made identifying dom elements especially difficult.

Interpersonally, we would sometimes face communication problems when we would all focus on our own tasks. We amended this by having standups more frequently and pairing on tasks more often. We would also get frustrated when it became apparent that we couldn’t add all the features that we originally intended, but by stepping away and looking at the big picture, we were able to prioritize and get Percolate where we needed it to be.

In hindsight, what might you have done differently?

In the beginning our team was divided over how ambitious we should be with our project given the time constraints. Ultimately we ended up reeling back some of the features we had originally hoped to finish.

If we were to repeat this project, we would design it with less emphasis on the front end at first, because we spent the first several days just learning how to use Raphael.js. We also wouldn’t aim to have a one page application, because it would have allowed us to implement many more features.

What’s next?

Next we want to implement a physics engine with either traer.js or d3 so we can create a more animated bubble effect, incorporating gravity into the canvas. Model wise, we would like to implement improvements to solutions. Currently we only have solutions, neglecting one of the key components of the original vision of being able to trace an idea’s iterations back in history. There is a lot of potential for Percolate and we all look forward to continuing to work on the project.

DBC NY Student Project: EmotionAll

Group Members

Kevin Zhou, Danielle Adams, Jake Huhn, Ruben Osorio

Why this app is meaningful to your group?

EmotionAll brings light to the often-forgotten yet always-present pillar of the human condition: the universality of our emotions. No matter where in the world you might be, or be from, there is always that underlying feeling that governs everything from disposition to thought to eventual action. EmotionAll is a platform by which we can analyze the world’s emotions, both visually and dynamically, in order to better understand the fundamental ideal that in the end, we aren’t so different after all.

What technologies did you use and why?

Because our app relies on being able to know the user’s location, we used both Twitter’s REST API and the Streaming API to maximize the amount of tweets we could find where the user shared their location. We then used AlchemyAPI to analyze the sentiments of each Tweet and record the sentiment scores to our database. Finally, using the Highcharts library, we were able to make a heat-map based on the averages of the sentiment scores for each country.

What the process workflow of your team like?

Although our team was made up of disparate personalities we were able to circumvent these very real differences thanks to a solid leader in the form of our team lead, Kevin, whom was insistent on persistent stand-ups in order to ensure group cohesion. By doing so, the team was able to both move forward and apart, respectively, by working autonomously on branches that ultimately formed a much larger tree of cooperation. In the end this workflow created a successful and rather idolatrous group process.

What struggles and problems did you encounter (both technological and interpersonal)?

Continuous integration setup via Travis CI was a difficult learning experience. We also encountered some trouble when setting up Jasmine testing due to gem incompatibilities. We didn’t realize the Twitter REST API had a 100 tweet limit on search queries until 2 days in, at which point we started supplementing with the Twitter Streaming API. Heroku’s limits on background tasks and table entries led us to search for a new host. We ended up switching to Ninefold because of an ad we saw on Stack Overflow and it’s been much better.

In hindsight what would you have done differently?

For testing, we would have liked to have done more up front analysis to determine the appropriate testing suite. Since Highcharts provides so much functionality, there was very little homegrown JavaScript to test so jasmine testing was not worth pursuing for our application.

What’s next? (what features would you like to add, etc.)

- See sample tweets connected to a trend to give the sentiment analysis more context.

- See charts showing further trend analysis (ie: sentiments over a given time period).

- Geolocate tweets onto the map since we have the coordinates in our database already.

- Allow users to enter a trend to track.

- See world average for a trend.

- Incorporate more real-time information.


DBC NY Student Project: Embark


Github: https://github.com/cicadas-2014/Embark

Group Members

Jason Matney, Dinesh Rai, Lasse Sviland and Jessica Tatham

Why is this app meaningful to your group?

The member of our group who initially pitched the idea for Embark has had a lifelong passion for travel.  As a team, we were motivated to turn that passion into a real product, and inspire that same sense of adventure in our users. There are plenty of reasons to not travel, but with this app, we hope to get users to see that there are just as many, if not more, reasons to get out there and create an experience.

What technologies did you use and why?

We used the Panaramio, and G Adventure APIs as they provided a rich repository of categorized adventures. Our group also considered, but rejected the Groupon and Rome2Rio APIs as well as the Alchemy sentiment analysis API and an interactive globe built with D3.JS.  We ultimately chose not to use these because they either they were too difficult to implement or because they provided us with different results than what we were looking for.  We used the Geocoder gem to categorize adventure distances and the Curb gem to access the G Adventure API.


Describe your team’s workflow process

Initially our process workflow was discrete and logical, as it involved basic tasks which had a low probability of failure.  We utilized the same workflow that we had been practicing over the last nine weeks, which allowed us to design the schemas, wire-frame the pages, and pitch feature ideas seamlessly. Naturally each of us were drawn to different elements of the project.  

Lasse was very strong with manipulating the database

Jessica maintained a calm poise and parsed out available features  

Dinesh also looked into implementing novel technical features

Jason checked out different websites for design inspiration  

As the days wore on and our project grew in size and complexity. As we were hit with new challenges we were forced to shift our workflow. Rather than designating an individual to work on a piece they were drawn to, we were more motivated by time constraints, compelling us to switch to a workflow based on feature priority.  As such, the most technically-skilled member of the group morphed into a de-facto team lead, as much of the workflow began to run through his ability to implement different features. Our process workflow had morphed from a collaborative sphere into a more hierarchical tree.  This, as mentioned, was a necessary response to the situations we faced, and ultimately proved to be an effective strategy insofar as we were able to the release our highest priority features.


What struggles and problems did you encounter (both technological and interpersonal)?

Our struggles were pretty normal and we were able to come together to overcome them by working together.  We were twice forced to revert back several hours on our main repository. The first time, we were inspired to refactor some shoddy CSS by consolidating the different pages into a single layout.  This was a great idea in theory, but unfortunately implementing the refactored layout proved difficult and ultimately ended up breaking the website. Fortunately, we handled the situation pretty well by lowering our heads and returned to work after the problem had been solved. The second revert occurred on Wednesday in the final 48 hours before our project was due when a push broke one of the main features of the site.  This caused distress among our group. However our team lead corralled the troops and got us back on course to complete the final push towards our live website.

In hindsight what might you have done differently?

The team became proficient at time boxing. When we first started the project, we would attempted to finish every task we signed up for on the trello board. By the end though, we chose to move on after the time box was over and would eventually come back to incomplete tasks with fresh eyes, where the solutions came to us much more easily.

What’s next? (what features would you like to add, etc.)

In the future, we would like to incorporate a rotating globe displaying markers where our adventures take place.  Users will be able to rotate the globe and select a marker to view the adventure.  We would also like to incorporate infinite scroll on the adventures index page. Also our group envisions the app providing users with a way to easily start their adventures by giving them access to travel options, such as flights through our app.

Inside Dev Bootcamp New York From the Student Perspective

What if there was a school where the students graded the teachers instead of the teachers grading the students?

"I give Dev Bootcamp an A" says one student from New York, "it’s not an A+ though." 

Dev Bootcamp operates in a way that most schools could only dream.

We iterate on our program every 3 weeks and take feedback directly from our students on what they like and didn’t like. 

The principles of Empathy, Learning, Building, Feedback and Impact guided our first cohort in San Francisco and continue to fuel our program today. 

We definitely care what our students think and appreciate when students share both positive and negative feedback.

Below is a 45-minute conversation with Dev Bootcamp New York students, Ken, Jake, Kevin and Dinesh. 

To save you some time and give you just the good stuff, we’ve linked to key discussion areas throughout the video. 

1:22 - Does Engineering Empathy and yoga help with your coding?

5:52 - What does a typical day look like at Dev Bootcamp?

7:10 - What do you think of the work load? Does it consume your whole life?

9:30 - Why are we making this podcast?

12:55 - Advice for someone considering DBC

 18:33 - Tips for our Phase 0 students

If you’re interested in learning more about Dev Bootcamp NYC, be sure to check out our weekly meet up events or visit our NYC campus page on our website to meet and connect with our team. 

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