Final Project – BigSpoon

Posted: November 29, 2013 in CS3216, Shubham's Posts

Unlike many of my class mates, I did not have an idea in mind already. I went into the pitching session with an open mind. I initially thought it would be very cool to do something Google Glass related. However, there was only one Google Glass available for all the Google Glass based projects and that really put me off. What is more difficult than doing a project on a completely new technology? Doing a project on the completely new technology when you wouldn’t have the technology all the time with you for debugging. I also had problems with using the Google Glass. I am short sighted and it wasn’t comfortable using my regular glasses under the Google Glass.

Instead of searching for team mates for a particular idea, I decided to search for ideas after finding team mates. I requested ZX, Gaoxiang and Yos, thankfully, they all agreed to join me in yet another project πŸ˜€ Working with them in the assignments had been so much fun and so easy that I feel I am lucky to have found such team mates. Goaxiang initially suggested doing a project related to automated essay scoring (my FYP) and even though it would have been awesome to apply my FYP to a real project, I was not overtly keen since I my AES software lags behind the state of the art (I hope to change that by the next semester).

After finding the team mates, I messaged almost every external presenter to ask them more about their ideas. I had already been really impressed with BigSpoon during the presentation. Add to that the fact that the team was made up of CS3216 alumni. What could be more awesome? πŸ˜‰

Oh yes, there could one one thing more awesome – the people you want to work with want to work with you πŸ˜€ So, it was decided, we were doing BigSpoon. And BigSpoon team did really make it easy for us. They had already thought about their design to the minutest detail. In fact, they had almost made a prototype using Powerpoint (I also didn’t know before that Powerpoint could be used as a prototyping tool πŸ˜‰ ). Leon Qiao had also spent effort in designing the data model. We quickly decided that the final app would have to have 3 components – iOS consumer app, restaurant facing web app and the server, of course.

We had hardly planned what to do when another friend joined our team- Chen Liang. We were obviously not going to say ‘no’ to two more hands who could code πŸ˜› So, when he asked if he could join our team, I must have shouted out ‘Yes’. We would have said to a sixth person too had Prof allowed – the way I see it, the more the merrier πŸ˜€

Me and Zhixing Yang took over the iOS part, Chen Liang, Gaoxiang and Yos were to handle the web app πŸ˜€ It had been two years since I had done CS3217 and so I had completely forgotten about iOS development. It took me some time before I could get re-familiarised with everything. I was also really struck by all the improvements Apple has made not only in XCode but also iOS. iOS development is much less painful now (all hail, ARC and storyboard :D). Actually, if you have never used Storyboard before, it can get a bit frustrating at first because getting used to the GUI and finding the different options can really take some time. Many a time, I was tempted to just do everything in code, but I am glad I didn’t give in.

FYP played a bigger role during the final project. Prof Hwee wanted frequent updates and so I really had to divide my time between my FYP and the project. In fact, this has been a big grudge of my undergraduate life. I am never able to devote sufficient time to interesting modules because of other interesting modules. When I was doing CS3217, I had my UROP. Now, FYP. I really want to do a PhD because then, I would have only one project to worry about. But, anyways, I did the best I could do, cut down on some sleep, drank more Coke (beer would have sounded so much cooler but my parents don’t allow me to drink 😦 ) and carried on.

The project also gave me a chance to go and interact with real customers. All hail Jay for arranging everything! I have begun to appreciate the marketing side of a business even more after this stint.

What was really helpful was the feedback of the teaching team. I wish the same process could be applied to the other assignments. The meetings with the tutors were really helpful. My special gratitude to Su Yuen and Omer, and of course Prof Colin, their feedback really helped us. They pointed out things that were as big and glaring as the white red cherry used in a Sunday morning cricket Test match, but they were things we wouls never ever have noticed on our own.

I must also say that we were lucky to be working with Jay and Leon Qiao. They had gone through CS3216 a year before and so they understood the requirements very well. They helped us at every step.

I love STEPS, especially presenting to Profs whose modules I have taken before. Its almost like a ‘thank you’ to them for teaching CS3216 students the basics of computer science which has enabled us to do awesome things.

The only regret I have is that we ran out of feedback forms. I think Prof underestimated the response, but I am sure next year, the students would be cursing our batch because they would have many more feedback forms they would have to get filled πŸ˜› HAHA

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