A friend asked me if I knew where I could get hydrogen peroxide so he could make hand sanitiser. Another friend told me about an article he saw in a woodworker magazine about building a DIY iron lung (it was from the 1950s polio era). This got me thinking. Out of all this amazing technology we have at our fingertips. Ie. 3d printers etc. Surely we can build a couple hundred thousand ventilators right?

What it does

It provides a centralised place to encourage people to get into action. I'm sure a lot of people have 3d printers and stuff or other skills that they may be interested in putting into use. I think a lot of people might procrastinate on the idea, and maybe doubt will stop them from actually getting themselves into gear. This site is designed to allow many forms of communication including real time chat and comments to enable people with a stepping off point. Somewhere they can get centralised information, and have people to talk to about the processes.

How I built it

The site is built with ReactJS and served from a NodeJS/ExpressJS server. It's written mostly in Javascript. I used a bit of Bootstrap, but most CSS styling is custom. A mongoDB database hosts the article and comments data, while the real time database uses Google Firebase.

Challenges I ran into

Mostly time constraints. I had to cull a few features. I wanted to have a more complex searching/categorising system. But actually I think the simplicity might have worked in the sites favour. I combined these different categorisations into one tag system, and I think it might be better that way. I wanted to do a single page app with logs of different components so keeping that layout okay without getting too cluttered was tough.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

All in all I'm pretty stoked with how it came together. I think it looks pretty good, and hopefully will be effective. I can't wait to populate it with more articles and hopefully get people using it.

What I learned

I learned React is a pain! Haha just kidding. Always learning more about React. In particular I used a useRef emergency hatch I wasn't aware of before! Mostly I learnt about component/file organisation, or at least I hope something new sunk in :) You learn so much on every project.

What's next for Covid Hacker Space

For starters, adding more content and sharing it around. Getting a few user's on board who are interested in helping to populate the articles, and hang out in the room to help new people who might be interested in helping out with the Covid crisis! Of course, I'm keen to add some more features, just once I take a nap ;D

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