This spring I helped develop FilmSync, a second screen mobile application, as part of an independent study with my professor, Steven King. FilmSync enables a documentary filmmaker to create content in Wordpress that the application will display in conjunction with the film.
The framework for the application is built using Angular.js, with jQuery handling the AJAX calls and manipulation of the data pulled in using the Wordpress JSON API. We then used PhoneGap to render this as an iOS application.
Please visit filmsync.org to view a demo of this application.
As part of an independent study in the fall of 2013, I developed the backend for the prototype of a product called Capitol Hound. Capitol Hound is a product of the Reese News Lab at UNC that provides users with the ability to search through transcripts from the North Carolina General Assembly and receive email alerts when transcripts containing the key words that the user has specified are entered into the database.
The development team for this project included a graphic designer, a front-end developer, and myself as the back-end developer. The backend for the prototype is written in Django and incorporates python scripts as management commands to load the transcript text into the database and send out the automated email alerts. Elasticsearch and Haystack manage the search aspect of the application.
In the spring of 2014, the Reese News Lab was awarded a Knight Prototype Fund Grant to further develop Capitol Hound. This prototype and the related white papers for Capitol Hound were among the materials submitted as part of the grant application.
Culture of Yes provides a great example of rapid brainstorming, development, and deployment. The majority of the application was developed in the span of 24 hours during a hackathon at UNC. The local version that we had up and running by the end of the hackathon early Sunday afternoon enabled our team to win first place in the competition. Following this, we made a few minor tweaks, added a couple of small pieces, and deployed the project a few days later.
As the team member with the most back-end experience, I charged myself with creating this piece. I set up the project using Django with a Postgres database and wrote the base template for the scrapers that we would use to gather the recent related stories from the campus newspapers. Additionally, I delegated tasks to the other team members including data collection, template formatting, and map implementation.
I also wrote a colloquially phrased blog post about creating this project/my first hackathon experience. It explains a bit more about our brainstorming process and what it felt like to be the only journalism students at a computer science hackathon.