To help spread the word of what we are trying to do, it was decided to try and do a regular, ideally daily, blog update of the progress of the Web and Mobile Apps that are being developed at speed, making use of a Low Code development environment called Outsystems.com.
Development started in earnest on the 1st April 2020 once my contract finished and I was sitting at home (under lock down). A perfect time and opportunity to put my head down and build software. I also had to learn the development environment and how it works. So early April I spent some 5 to 8 days doing something like 32 training courses and developing the Web App in between courses trying out some of the simpler tasks.
Goal is to build a set of collaborating applications that all talk to the central platform with its central database. For those new to what this initiative is about you can find out more on the Goals page. So what is required is an overall Platform made up of the following components:
- A Reactive Web Management App and the Core central database to hold all data. Managers will use the Web App to run this platform.
- Student Mobile App that Students will use to learn on and access the central platform.
- Sponsors Mobile App that Sponsors will install on their phone to contribute the funds that will pay for the students data and courses as well as monitor the students progress.
- Course Providers Reactive Web App that will have API access to the various Course providers and pull in the available course content and information for the Students.
- Other Future App Components for later Phases. We have lots of ideas!
Where have we got to as of the 21st April as I write this first blog on the subject? Well quite far actually. Despite a lot of learning and frustration initially, it is getting quicker and easier daily. Below is some of the detail for you to look at:
Designed the initial minimum viable product database (that has since grown over the days) for Student, Course Provider and Sponsor.
Reactive Web App
Next was the Reactive Web App, which would populate this Database and allow for administering and managing the data, such as adding and deleting Addresses, Provinces, Countries, Courses, Tracks and Users, etc.
Student Mobile App
But the most fun part has been developing the Student Mobile App. Much time was wasted on the initial Login & Registration pages but these are largely complete now (with a few minor glitches to still sort out.) Below are a few sample screens that have been developed for the App. This was done in a separate App Component so it could be used for both Sponsors and Students and other potential future Mobile Apps as needed.
Next was to work on the main Student Mobile App and start at the top of the menu and work my way down each page. This is the My Profile set of Mobile pages:
Then onto the My Courses where the focus is right now. I also did venture into the My Progress menu set of pages. This was an experiment in building Charts, Graphs and Doughnut diagrams. All still very much as work in progress at the moment.
In the near future I will release a Progressive Web App “play” version for people to log into and add onto their own phones and try out. It needs more work first however… Give me two weeks or so.
One of the reasons for publishing this information is to get early feedback and have people ask the obvious questions I may have missed. Things like: “If this is aim for the indigent black population to learn why are we showing a picture of Mr. Bean logging in to do 4th Industrial Revolution learning?”. Of course the real reason is to spread the word and get people to start buying into and sponsoring the cause!
“That’s all for now folks! I hope to release progress more regularly from now onward. Ideally daily to keep it simple and small”