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We Built an App Over Breakfast


Idea to App, in the Time It Takes to Eat a Scone and Drink Your Morning Coffee

We walked into the office this morning novices, and walked out to lunch developers. todo.raweng.com was built in exactly 3 hours, from ideation to full-featured implementation!

All it took to build this simple web application was raw engineering's built.io backend, our JavaScript SDK, a little AngularJS to make things pretty and fun, and a few helpful pointers along the way.

Our big take away is that preparation is half the battle:

You have to think about the kind of data your app will use before you begin building it. What "things" ("classes" and "objects" in developer-speak) are relevant to the user? What relationship to each other and properties do these things have? Once you have your data model mapped out, you can quickly build your app. - Nishant Patel, CTO raw engineering, inc.

Shoot us an email or leave comments with your best app building advice!

The Steps

  1. Think about what your users will be doing. What use case are you building an app for? How will users input data, e.g. via a form? Will they share information, for example via social networks?
  2. Create your data model. After you've sketched out your data model (literally- go write on your whiteboard), create your classes and determine their properties. With built.io you have the ability to create fields with many different types of data:
    • Text - A text field (you can impose restrictions if desired)
    • ISO Date - For tracking dates
    • File - Any file
    • Boolean - TRUE or FALSE (think of it as a checkbox)
    • Reference - Link other classes
    • Group - Group related fields together
    • Link - URLs
    • Number - In other backend services, a developer has to define the type of number field (i.e.: decimals, fraction, integers). built.io enables you to have more flexibility in this process because you don't define your number type.
    • Mixed - Store a combination of text based data. Often used for storing JSON formatted information.
  3. Load your data. One way to get some data into your app is to create "objects" - i.e. filling out the information required in each of the classes' fields with the built.io management interface. This content can also be updated from your application!
  4. Review your APIs with Postman.
  5. Connect your app backend with the frontend code. Dead simple with the JavaScript SDK.
  6. Make the UI interactive and improve the frontend experience. Work some UI magic by adding checkboxes and strikethroughs to improve the usability of your app.
  7. Register a URL and host your app on the web.

Code With Us

A bunch of business users built an app after spending just a little time learning the built.io basics. Want to build an app? Join us for Coding and Cocktails, a 3 hour built.io crash course, and walk away with your very own app.

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