A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for — John A. Shed

Introduction:

Just like any other college project, we started as a common one, searching for a good idea and comparing it to similar products available in the market. Eventually, we finalized our project idea as a demand proposed by one of our subject professors. The demand was about enhancing the virtual classroom experience by compiling a plethora of features in various applications on online platforms.

The ‘so-called’ Competitors:

We scrolled through a variety of options that could be chosen by different people on different platforms for educational purposes, and arrived to the expected conclusion that every product available in the market might be delivering amazing solutions to many problems but lacks a few features to fulfill the complete requirements required for a perfect virtual classroom
experience. To our knowledge, these tools were backed by renowned and established organizations, which further encouraged us to start building, as once, even those people who built such brilliant tools had an inception.

That’s the point when our ship sailed away from the harbor.

The Voyage:

Considering the ongoing circumstances due to the coronavirus, it appeared to be the perfect time to grab this opportunity to build what we had in mind.

Since we were a team of five, the realm of development seemed extensive. We planned accordingly and chalked out the timeline. Since it was nearly a big project for all of us to work upon for the first time, we experienced the limitation of experience, which forced us to search for solutions to
problems we never thought could exist.

Our college had arranged for various speaker sessions, for us to deepen our knowledge on design and innovation, and understand the process of a perfect workflow. Following the designed technique, we divided the team into four sections, one for UI/UX, one for the web application, one for the mobile application, and the last one for the backend implementations. Each team dived deep into their domain of research and found out efficient ways to implement the desired functionalities.

We selected our development tools wisely on order to maintain a perfect workflow and collaborate easily:

  • UI/UX development was done using Adobe XD (Thank god…Not Paid like Other Adobe Products!).
  • The mobile app development consisted of Android Studio and the Web app was made using a JavaScript framework, called, React.
  • The last and the most important part of the application, the back-end development (Behind-the-Scenes part of the application) was done using Node.

The UI development was done in the following phases:
1. Deciding the features.
2. Preparing the low fidelity version.
3. User Research and planning the colors and fonts to be used.
4. Preparing the high fidelity version.
5. Exporting the UI elements for the application development.
6. Make changes as per requirements and repeating the steps.

Android and Web Application Development was done in the following phases:
1. Designing the UI using prototype.
2. Brainstorming the code structure.
3. Coding the activites.
4. Linking the activities with the backend server.
5. Finding and debugging any bugs.
6. Testing the application.

Backend Development was done in the following phases:
1. Prototyping API and backend structure.
2. Designing MySQL database schema.
3. Testing DB schema with test data and finalizing queries based on the requirement.
4. Building Routes and route controllers.
5. Designing and implementing authentication and authorization.
6. Connecting Database with Backend API.
7. Testing backend with database.
8. Finding and fixing bugs.
9. Documenting API for frontend developers in an easy to read manner.

Conclusion:

We did face a massive set of challenges due to remote collaboration but eventually, coped up with the reality of it. One of the greatest realizations was the complexity of simplicity behind the scenes. Sometimes, even the simplest of the tasks required complex algorithms and code structures to be
implemented during the development of the app.

Realizing in terms of life, we could’ve never started if there hadn’t been a semester project and never ended if there hadn’t been a deadline. To explore the brighter heavens of life, it is really important to sail your ship rather than having it docked at the harbor, and at the same time, necessary to reach the destination on time before you’re out food. Therefore, start working on your
dreams now itself and achieve the unimaginable rewards.

Tech enthusiast