On social media, we always see people asking for location recommendations for photoshoots or people looking to work other photography creatives (models or other photographers). We personally struggle with finding our next instagram worthy background all the time, so we knew we had a promising idea to expand upon this weekend.
What it Does
photosign offers a minimalistic design for users to access and use with ease. What sets us apart from other photo sharing apps is how we only display the image and the user. We also offer a communication platform for users to ask other photographers and models regarding anything photography related.
How We Built It
We built photosign utilizing Google Cloud Platform for our database, HelloSign's Document Authentication API for our photo releases, TalkJS API for our communication platform, nodejs and express for our backend server. There were certain aspects of our project that changed throughout the weekend. For starters, we were forced to switch to GCP due to deprecated libraries on Firebase. Another big decision that we made was to switch over to HelloSign's API from DocuSign's API due to horrible documentation and support.
Challenges We Ran Into
It seemed as if we ran into challenges every other 10 minutes: errors on routing and http requests, dependencies missing, API usage issues - a major restraint was our limited knowledge about web development languages. Despite this, we powered through and used the best of our programming abilities to learn from our mistakes. If we had to state the hardest challenge we ran into, GCP was the most challenging due to various reasons such as lack of experience with databases in general. The biggest however, was the documentation. The documentation, although thorough in general, was not sufficient for our situation and as a result, we ended up spending over 8 hours on it.
Accomplishments that We're Proud of
First and foremost, we're proud that we were able to finish our project given the tech stack and the scope of the project. We essentially learned how to deploy a full-stack web app (although, sadly, not completely responsive) in less than 1.5 days. Secondly, we're proud of the fact that we were to seamlessly incorporate 3 APIs into our project. None of us had worked extensively with APIs before and the fact that we were even able to understand how each one worked in the context of our webapp, is a big accomplishment for us. One last accomplishment we're proud of is the fact that we were able to set up our backend properly. Again, none of us had ever worked with backend development - HTTP requests were difficult to understand at first and how the file structures differed between the server and client. It
What We Learned
Through this project, there definitely was a great deal of challenges to overcome. But looking at it from another light, this experience will definitely help us in the future. We learned how to develop and deploy web applications with a proper database. Aside from that we learned about how to optimize team workflow utilizing version control effectively for the first time. Aside from when one of us was snoozing, there was almost never a time when we weren't working on a piece of the web application. Usually it's hard to be fully efficient on a project when working with others, but we were able to achieve just that at this hack!
What's next for photosign
To continue with photosign, we have to continue updating our security features, polishing the UI, and details of the web app. We mainly focused on pushing out a minimum viable product for the hackathon, so we'd like to put some more time into the details.