Git Merge

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Now that our poster session at School of Computing’s 7th STePS is over, and reading week is coming to an end, it is back to studies and exams. We can all now say we have graduated from CS3216 batch of 2015!

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Unwinding the clock – Retrospective View of CS3216

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Almost four months back when I signed up for CS3216: Software Development on Evolving Platforms, it only dawned on me that 140-odd applicants had signed up for a module with only 40+ positions when I saw the ranting posts on NUSWhispers. I confess that I knew very little about the module until I realise I had to sign up for one of the modules for the 8MC requirement in Computer Science, and this seemed to be the “fun” and “exciting” choice. I vividly remember how the person kicked a fuss on how the module was very exclusive and robbed many students of their opportunity to learn.

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Is enough really enough?

The past week have been more stressful for the team than the sum of all days before.

We launched Paperbaton on Saturday 31 Oct and with that a series of events took their turn to play. We saw our 100th sales in just two days and now we have materials for over 70 modules available on our marketplace. Above all, we got a “scolding” from Prof Ben Leong for the bad UI/UX design – despite the tremendous amount of effort we have put in to improve the UI/UX design from the original. My team and I will not forget the supposed grade we should have gotten for our final project – and strived to work hard through this week.

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When we hit November

Through the week our team persevered in gathering support for Paperbaton. In fact, Vicky worked hard to reach out to the various clubs and societies and amazingly we have a number of student clubs & societies who decided to join us and uploaded their materials (past year paper solutions) to Paperbaton – for FREE. We have now build materials for 30-over modules in just a little time span of one week, and we’re looking forward to more students selling their materials when we launch public tomorrow.

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Closed BETA Launch

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After much discussion and hurling around, we are finally launching for a closed BETA this Saturday.

Though it sounds easy to “not having to code”, but I can assure you that that is not the case. My teammates who are pro-Python developers, frown upon the need to write some PHP code – and it was not easy because we have to fit into the WordPress API (and it can be very confusing) – on top of the API provided by themes and plugins. Now I understand how “WordPress Development” / Customization is actually an art form itself.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Prototypes

For the past week we have placed many things that we talked about into action. We scraped two ideas and one visual prototype (that was clickable on Invision already) after listening to feedback from various channels. Eventually after consultation today, we confirmed our project direction and felt that our project now is worth all the ideas and prototypes scraped.

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Problem Solving – through apps?

Hours before the start of our Monday session with GrabTaxi, our final project team – Vicky Zheng, Liu Yang, Huang Yue and I – sat down to brainstorm on alternative ideas. Our initial idea of building a travel planner drowned in further discovery of more similar apps along with the the untimely schedule of CS3216.

By STePS in Nov 2015, we would have released our travel itinerary planner too late to meet the demands of those who are travelling at the end of year holiday seasons. Besides, we figured that usage of the apps really depend on seasonal demands and would not be something usable on a daily basis – like how most of our social network and messaging apps are being used all the time. Furthermore, there must be some problems – which we could not identify, let alone solve – on the existing itinerary planners which cause local travel community not to use them.

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Coworking & Snowballing

Share on FBWorking on Orderlyst for the past two week, I think my team came to the realisation that even a small app idea can snowball into a large one very quickly. Even with minimal Facebook API usage and a simple RESTful API implemented for the application, some requirements can get very tedious to implement. For example, initially we thought of doing periodic refresh for the updating of data – but after some thoughts we decided to implement the feature using WebSockets API.

Orderlyst collates group orders for supper and takeaway. Say goodbye to messy order compilations and splitting bills is now easy as a pie.

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“Eh I got this great idea…”

Having sat through all the internal pitches from earlier, I got reminded of a typical process I would go through many times in a month. It always starts with “Eh I got this damn friggin great idea…”: When an idea comes to mind, I keep the habit of jotting it down on my Trello cards right next to my Kanban. However, overtime I will find the app idea is either not attractive or is something that most people would not use and eventually archive the card.

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