While none of us are vegan ourselves, we have family and friends who follow a vegan diet. We have noticed how it can be difficult to tell if some foods are vegan at the grocery store, so we decided to build a website that can check for you.
What it does
Our website takes in a UPC code or food description and searches the USDA database to get the ingredients. It then checks whether those ingredients are all vegan, and tells the user whether it is vegan or not, prints out the ingredients, and lists the name of the item as it is listed in the USDA database.
How I built it
We built it using Sinatra, which is a framework based on Ruby. We deployed our changes and ran the app on Heroku.
Challenges I ran into
One challenge was that the USDA API sometimes returned retired food items that did not have ingredient lists. Another challenge we ran into was the API returning different results for the same search term which made testing difficult for some food items. It was also difficult to learn how to parse through the data returned by the API, as none of us had any experience working with APIs before. Another challenge was putting all of our parts together, as small things needed to be changed when we put it together.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We were able to learn a completely new programming language and framework and put together a fully functional website in under 24 hours. We also learned how to use APIs for the first time and were able to utilize the data we found.
What I learned
We learned how to use tutorials to build an app in a language that we didn't know. We also learned how to work together as a team, and how to use Git to enable that.
What's next for Is It Vegan?
We would like to add a barcode scanner to be able to grab UPC codes more efficiently. We can also add functionality to change the background based on the whether the food choice is vegan.