Our inspiration behind the website mainly came from stopping the spread of COVID-19. The ongoing count of deaths from COVID has completely shocked us, and the amount of people still not wearing PPE worries us. It can be hard to get affordable PPE, and our site makes sure the PPE is being sold at a good price as we have a recommended price calculator. Another reason we made this website is for people to sell custom masks. A couple of my friends make custom masks, and it is hard for them to get their merchandise out in the world and for them to make a name for themselves. Our website is perfect for people who want to sell their products.
We learned a lot about using html, css, php and a lot of technologies that we hadn't interacted with before. We learned how to make a full webpage in html and css, we learned how to use variables and functions inside of html with php, and we learned how to interact with a mysql server, which we used to store the posts. We also learned about the ins and outs of working with servers, because the easiest way for us to test our website was to use a local apache server to host the site locally, and then we have the mysql server which we interact with through php.
build process / challenges
We started out with a simple website, which displayed 6 divs on a home page, and then had some text inside of those div panels. We then needed to use an html form to take user input. When we first started out, we just ran headfirst into the problem of starting to write the html, what we didn't realize is that html form data needs to be stored somewhere. we assumed that there was a built in method to save that data. However, after doing more research, we found that the best solution that suited our problem statement was to set up a mysql database. We set up the mysql database and then realized that the best way to interact with it would be a php script, then we had to set up a local https (apache) server that could run the php scripts in our browsers. This was another source of error that sucked up time. We made this project using Visual Studio Code, and the live server extension there is built for hosting web pages, however, it is only meant for running static pages, not dynamic pages like the ones we were trying to run. So we spent a good hour or two on setting up the apache server and making it able to run our website locally. We wrote functions to take user input and place it into a mysql table, and functions to download uploaded images to a folder for later use. When it came time to use the data from the mysql server, we hit our second roadblock, which was drawing input from the server and outputting it into text. It required multiple php functions which selected a specific index from the table and then outputted it. We also made a php price calculator using the average sale value of a specific object that the person is selling. The delete page was the final hurdle, and it was difficult because when a mysql server deletes rows, it doesn't reset their auto-incremented id, so we had to write while loops for each call, which selected the next available index to continually have the first panel contain images. The second half of day 2 was all taken up in making the website look appealing with css styling, which was completely new to both of us. We think that this project was a really good introduction into a lot of different utilities, with us having to learn fundamentals of web design, servers and databases.