Emily and Krystal learned of deed covenants, which are pervasive in our hometown of St. Louis, and we learned that these racist tactics were deployed in Atlanta too. We wanted to bring awareness to this issue, create a common database that a user or government agency might use, and provide legal mechanisms and resources to remove the deed covenants from property deeds.

What it does

Our application has a search functionality that allows a user to look up an address and determine whether it's stored within the deed covenant database. Authorized users can also add addresses to the database along with general information about the deed, including a PDF copy. Additionally, the application provides general and legal resources regarding racially-motivated covenants and how one might remove them from their deed.

How we built it

We built this application using the Spring Boot framework, including a java backend, thymeleaf views, MySQL, HTML5/CSS and javascript. We also used the google places autocomplete feature for user-friendly data entry. To collaboratively build this project, we utilized an agile workflow, supported by Atlassian/Trello. We also used the git workflow on our shared repository.

Challenges we ran into

We had difficulty implementing validation into our 'add deed' form. At this time, we are unable to create validation handlers but are confident with more time we could implement this feature. We also had a difficult time determining the best way to securely accept PDF files. At first, we wanted to allow individual home-owners to upload their deeds to our database, but realized this presented a security flaw we were ill-equipped to deal with. To solve this issue, we created a simple authorization piece to allow only specified users to add new deeds to the database. In the future, we might create a User class that allows for a one-to-many relationship with the Deed class. Our other challenge was (as new developers who've never deployed an app) determining the feasability of deployment. We are inexperienced with cloud-based databases and servers and the Azure service was more complex than we had the capacity for at this time.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are incredibly proud of our ability to have created a full stack application in such a short period of time. We also had never implemented Bootstrap and are unfamiliar with CSS styling and were successsful in creating a beautiful UI! We are also proud of the application's purpose and feel it necessary to raise awareness on the issues that our app addresses.

What we learned

A lot of Bootstrap and styling elements! We also deepened our problem-solving capabilities and were able to find workable solutions to many of the challenges we faced. We also discovered that we're becoming more independent as developers and didn't need to rely on mentorship to solve our problems.

What's next for Deed Covenants

  • Refine authorization component so that only database-registered administrators can add deeds to the database OR implement security practices which allow any user to upload a PDF of their deed.
  • The application is currently focused on Atlanta, Georgia, and we would like to expand it to a wider geographic region.
  • Bring this application to local governments so this application could have a positive impact on our communities.
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