We were inspired by the situation everyone is currently under due to COVID-19. As citizens of Hawaii, we wanted to help in creating a way for State projects to be displayed publicly. Especially with social distancing, having this detailed data readily accessible would be beneficial as everyone’s day-to-day lives have already been majorly impacted.
What it does
DFE shows the projects being undertaken by the State, and displays attributes about projects. It shows the relationship between applications and projects so that potential investors can make informed decisions about where their money would be most effective.
How we built it
We built DFE using Python, with Django as our web framework. Django allowed us to rapidly prototype our project, and easily expand upon it. It also simplified database integration. We used D3.js for our dendrograms, and MongoDB for charts.
Challenges we ran into
Backend: We did not have much experience with MongoDB before this project, or any cloud services for that matter. It was definitely a learning experience, but it provided faster read speeds compared to other database solutions and easier graphing.
Frontend: For Django, we had little knowledge of the language which impacted our ability to efficiently write our code. For instance, we had little knowledge on how models actually worked in Django but thanks to our mentor and deeper research, we were able to get it working. Additionally, the mapping between our views, urls, and html templates was difficult for our team at first to understand, but once we got our first page working it became clear the syntax we needed to follow.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
As a team we all learned much about our programming languages and gained useful knowledge. We were able to learn more about graphic design and its importance in the functionality of an application. Despite quarantine we were able to be organized, efficient, and successful.
What we learned
We learned how to build a Django framework from the bottom up and integrate it with MongoDB. We also learned how to utilize the D3.js to build a dendrogram to display important information.
What's next for DFE
Our team wants to try to look into Bootstrap and other styling kits in order to boost our website’s aesthetic. As we prioritized the technical ability of our website, our graphics aren’t the strongest point. We plan to improve upon this in our next iterations. We had to discard some features that were too ambitious for us to take on or were deemed nonessential. These were a search filter, major informations system filter, and a catch-of-the-day feature. Our search filter would allow for easier navigation of the website with the extensive amount of applications and projects. There are certain applications with the major informations system tag that we wanted to have on a separate page. We felt these were too big of a task to take on within our given time frame. A catch-of-the-day feature on the landing page would essentially highlight the applications/projects whose data were the most appealing to potential investors. We felt that it was too tedious of a task to take on.