REU Week 8

Whew, this week really flew by! Only two more left!

A lot was accomplished this week, both in terms of the app and other side projects. We started off the week by volunteering for a STEM GIrl Scout camp being held at IU! We brought our soddering and electronic card-making skills to the table as we helped the girls make light-up cards of their own, which was a lot of fun. I participated in Girl Scouts for 12 years and did a lot of neat things, but I never did go to a STEM camp, so that was cool to help out and encourage them to pursue STEM activities.

Most of the rest of the day on Monday, I spent drawing up some UI designs for the app. Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures of them at the moment, but I’ll try to post them as soon as I can. In terms of organization, I decided to go with a tab bar at the bottom of the app to help minimize clicks and make navigation easier. The home screen will have four large expandable/collapsible buttons that allow the user to add either an image, note, or voice recorder. Underneath those buttons, when the user collapses them, we’ll have a feed similar to that of Momento’s, showing what all the user has put in. The rest of the tabs on the bottom are dedicated to each of the functions/features we’re planning on providing: note, camera/image library, voice notes, tags, social media posts, and events. Don’t worry, we don’t actually have 8 tabs on the bottom! Xcode has a nice feature where we can add a “more” tab, which leads you to a tableview of all the spillover options.

Part of Monday and Tuesday, then, I started setting up the app with this design. I ran the designs by everyone on Tuesday, and except for a few minor suggestions, everyone seemed pretty happy with them!

I also had an impromptu meeting with Dr. Clawson Tuesday morning, where we talked about a timeline for our app, since we were originally planning to be testing it among the REU students this week. The plan we set that day was to have the app done and ready for distribution among the REUs Wednesday of next week. This included the backend of the app, which at that point was not started at all. We decided that Michael and Arash should have their features finished and incorporated into the app by the end of Friday so that I could have adequate time to design and tailor the backend, which would largely consist of a database to store everything the user puts in. I brought the plan to Arash and Michael, and they agreed. Thus, we set our noses to the grindstone and took off running!

Looking back at the end of the week now, we’re not quite where we wanted to be, but we did make a lot of progress. Here’s an update of where we’re at:

-Arash and the voice note function: Arash did it! It seems like he finally got all the bugs out of his voice recording app on Friday! It’s been a long road, but I’m so happy for him and proud of him! For someone who has almost no coding experience, diving like he did into something as complex as AVFoundation for his first major coding project is just admirable. He’s planning on building the app into our app this weekend.

-Michael and the camera function: Michael also made a lot of progress this week! His camera app is nearly ready, but he was missing an adapter on Friday in order to fully test it. He’s supposed to finish it up this weekend and send the files to me when he’s finished so I can incorporate it in.

Myself and the backend: Unfortunately, I don’t have terribly happy news to share here, but I did make some progress! I spent most of Wednesday and part of Thursday learning what I could about backend development. The biggest roadblock, however, was our database. We thought we had put in a request to have one created for us, but it just kind of sat at a standstill for a while. We then figured out that we could create a database through that department but that it would be better to go through IU’s Research Database Complex (RDC). Thus, large parts of Thursday and Friday were dedicated to that: creating accounts and sending lots and lots of emails… Ugh. So we still don’t have a database yet, which will probably push things back. We’ll probably meet as a team next week to figure out what to do if things continue to not go so smoothly in that department.

-Myself and app layout: The app is largely laid out how we want it to be! It’s really grown a lot; our storyboard is massive!! Admittedly, a lot of the view controllers are just blank placeholders, but that’s going to be changing very soon!

Other things:

  • Michael completed our poster draft this week, and we went over them as an entire REU group on Tuesday and got some valuable feedback! You can view our poster here.
  • I tackled our video storyboard this week, which can be seen below! We’re planning on using FlatIcons with either Prezi or PowerPoint to create it.

More pictures coming soon! See you all next week!