At the end of my second quad as a coding student, about halfway through our program, our instructors at Skill Distillery tested skills and knowledge with our first full-stack Web application project. Our class split into groups of three people each, and I worked with two other students to begin brainstorming ideas for implementation. We settled on a “Travel Journal” concept for its simple schema structure and effective display of relational connections.

After our teachers reviewed and signed off on our idea, we quickly architected our JPA entities, along with a basic schema and its relations. The end result was a simple nested list structure: A user had a variety of vacations to choose from, each vacation had many locations, and each location had several images and videos attached to it.

Our group dynamic quickly settled: Travis had a creative, visionary mind; Anup had a deep understanding of Java syntax and the ability to quickly  implement ideas, and I understood the logic and architecture of the overall project.

After we built our database, we quickly mapped the JPA entities to the database we had on Anup’s MySQL server. The instruction we received the week prior enabled us to easily understand exactly how this should work, and within the day we had a working Spring MVC login finding and loaded a basic dashboard based on that user’s data.

The greatest obstacles we encountered as we slowly implemented front-end based data creation to our local MySQL database were simple issues with refreshing a managed user while holding said user in a session to dynamically pull that object’s vacations and locations from the database. Once these hurdles were overcome, we felt free to go wild and implement several amenity features such as auto-generated share links and attractive looking UIs. We spent the majority of the final days with Travis and Anup working on CSS design while I worked on debugging code and adding features like a preview separate from the final published view.

The group project gave us a fantastic opportunity to capstone our knowledge up to this point, integrating everything we had learned over the course of the prior month and challenging us to understand any weak points that required more time and attention. I felt extremely proud of how close our project came to our original vision and the fact that our basic skeleton managed to be accurate is a testament to the ability and skills of the instructors at Skill Distillery.

~Adam McDaniel

To check out Adam’s projects and follow his work, visit his blog.

Leave a Comment