Our team noticed a lack of websites and applications reserved for showcasing literature dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community and sought to create a widely accessible application that would serve as a safe space for queer readers. The application would include books written by LGBTQ+ authors, reviews, and eventually, a community forum for discussion. Our goal is to foster a sense of community and connection among LGBTQ+ readers and allies. The journey toward more visibility and acceptance is ongoing, and we hope to play a small part in that movement.
What it does
The project uses Google's Books API in order to return to the user a list of books that match their query. These books are all LGBTQ+ related. Once users select a book, they will be directed to a page with the book's description, information about the author, and reviews from other users. Users can also leave their own reviews and ratings for the book. Additionally, in the future, the application will include a forum where users can discuss books, LGBTQ+ representation in literature, and their own experiences. We believe that this feature will help foster a sense of community and connection among LGBTQ+ readers and allies. Our hope is that users will feel safe and free to express themselves on our platform.
How we built it
This project was built using most of the MERN stack, save for MongoDB. We used React for the front-end and Node.js with Express for the back-end. For styling, we used the Chakra UI library. The application is hosted on Microsoft Cloud Azure's App Service, and we used Git and GitHub for version control and collaboration. We utilized Google's Books API to retrieve information about the books. Throughout the development process, we prioritized accessibility and user experience to ensure that our platform is welcoming to everyone regardless of previous internet experience. We also made sure to implement security measures where we could protect user data and privacy.
Challenges we ran into
- Some of us were new to git and new to programming, so learning how to integrate our code together with version control, and learning how to properly read documentation was challenging.
- Integrating the Books API with our application was more difficult than expected.
- We ran into numerous bugs with the backend/frontend routing that took longer to fix than anticipated.
- Styling the application to be visually appealing and accessible proved to be a challenge at times.
- Deploying our application to Microsoft Cloud Azure's App Service was challenging, as we had to create the correct scripts to build and run the app, and structure our files correctly. After a lot of trial and error though, we were able to deploy our application successfully!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Successfully integrating the Books API and creating a functional search feature.
- Prioritizing accessibility and user experience throughout the development process.
- Solving the bugs we encountered and completing the project within the given time frame.
- Learning and growing as developers, even in the face of challenges.
What we learned
- Learned how to work as a team while full-stack developing.
- We had to learn how to use React, Node.js, Express, and other tools as most of us started from 3. scratch this weekend.
- We also learned how to integrate Google's Books API into our application and how to prioritize accessibility and user experience.
- Working through challenges such as bugs, git, and styling allowed us to develop important problem-solving skills.
- Deepened our understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusivity in all aspects of technology.
- Overall, we're proud of what we accomplished and excited to continue growing as developers.
What's next for PRIDEline
Next, we might complete our MERN stack by adding MongoDB for user data and OAuth authentication. We plan to incorporate a feature that allows users to save books to their profiles for later reading. Adding more LGBTQ+ literature to our database and adding a forum are also on our to-do list. We will continue to prioritize accessibility and user experience, ensuring that our platform remains a safe and welcoming space for all. We hope to partner with LGBTQ+ organizations and bookstores in the future to promote our application and expand our reach. Ultimately, our goal is to increase the visibility and representation of LGBTQ+ literature and create a space where queer readers can come together and celebrate their shared experiences.