Lambda Labs: Merchant Marketplace
I have worked my way through Lambda School to get to the final stage. That stage is called Labs. This is the part of the coding boot camp where we work together in teams and put our teachings to the test in a project. This project is called Merchant Marketplace and it was handed down to us by the previous Labs group. We spent time listening to stakeholders and reading documentation in order to understand what was being asked of us. We then walked through and made some user stories to find the features we wanted to implement in our version of the application. We decided upon tasks that were needed to accomplish these user stories, divided out the work, peer reviewed that work, and used pull requests through GitHub to merge all of our features together. What we ended up with was a functional web application that brought together buyers and sellers into one site to sell their unique items around the nation. I know this sounds like eBay or Etsy, but our site offers the ability to pick up and deliver items to buyers. The connection between the sellers, their items, and the buyers is unique. It is mostly filled with personal, antique items that cannot be found on eBay or Etsy. Personally, group work always strikes fear within me, but our group worked very well together and helped each other whenever needed.
Is it Really Whimsical?
Before we started coding — and really before we even had access to the code we were going to be working with — we used a new form of architecture for web development called Whimsical. This website is used by many different developers and other kinds of jobs to draw up ideas before getting down to work. Our team started with the general layout of the languages we would use for frontend and backend. We used text boxes and highlights in order to be able to follow along more easily and so that anyone who opened this page could understand what we were doing.
This was useful for our team so that we were all on the same page with what languages to use and how to connect them all.
We were finally given access to the code, so we could start deciding how we wanted to lay out our project with connections and databases. So, we established the Schema for our Database. We went through as a team to figure out what information was already provided by the last team and added the things that we needed to include in our databases in order to provide the correct information to the users.
Finally, we went through all of the API contracts that were either already established or that we needed to establish for our features.
By adding in the database and API information, our team was able to figure out the work that needed to be done to accomplish our features. I felt our team did a great job of planning our steps and tasks so that our version of Merchant Marketplace could be successful. Our main hurdle was going through the previous team’s code. They built out their frontend different than we had experienced before, so talking it through and putting it into Whimsical helped to organize everything.
The New and Improved Merchant Marketplace
To answer the question at the top: is Whimsical a time saver — the answer is yes. I believe that it helped our team to establish what was already included in the current version and what we needed to implement to make our version work. We were able to add to the API, add more design style to the frontend, and even include a search function. Our team worked extremely well together and in the end we were able to ship a product that we can all be proud of.