Equator, The

The Equator was an application created for my Distributed Systems class at RMU. Originally, this app was created by another group with MIT App Inventor (Classic) app for Fundamentals of Software Engineering class, while I created UAHDX for that class. For Distributed Systems class (a class about applications and systems that are distributed across various machines over the internet), our professor wanted our groups either to add DS features to our old Fundamentals project, or to start a new app. Unfortunately, the co-developer of UAHDX graduated by the time I took this class in Fall 2015, so I was partnered by another classmate who I will refer to as "Two Minds Co." (or just 2Minds). Rather than work with the new partner on the monumental task of adding my planned future feature of adding online multiplayer to UAHDX, we decided to work on his old Fundamentals project: The Equator.

The Equator was an application that would give high school up to college students a configurable web database of engineering/STEMS equations, names, and images. Unfortunately, due to lack of understanding of MIT App Inventor (Classic) and lack of time, Old 2Minds had to hard-code their information locally into the app. For DS class, EagleSoft Ltd collaborated with 2Minds on importing/upgrading the project to MIT App Inventor 2, creating primary and secondary standalone web servers, and allowing the applications to dynamically load and cache locally all equations, names, and images from the web databases. Although at first, I was skeptical and hesistant to use MIT App Inventor 2 (to me, it felt too elementary and like too many steps backwards from someone who has worked with mature, official IDEs/languages such as C# and Visual Studio, and felt like downgrading from C# to BASIC), I eventually gave MIT App Inventor 2 a try and quickly learned how to use it. Although some of the "code" blocks had to be created/structured awkwardly to get around MAI2 limitations, we eventually got the application working.

Post-mortem, the group should find a way in the app to allow teachers to add new equations, images, and names to the database from the app frontend, instead of us having to manually put in new data through the web database server backend. Although it took some time to learn how to use MAI2 due to my procrastination of wanting to use its elementary style, it sure was easier than having to deal with the difficult, low-level networking needed to establish a connection to the web DB; however, for future apps, I would rather use Android Studio to create apps (because it is official, has much more professional appeal than MAI2, is more featured, and knowledge of it has practical applications in real-world industry).

We managed to get the project working and functional, although it turned into a massive amount of spaghetti code consisting of giant if-then-else codeblocks, due to the WYSYWYG editor and code builder system.