Holiday week and reverse engineering an app #buildszn

Here’s the third update of #BUILDSZN.


It was a holiday week in the USA. I thought I would get more done than I actually did. We host Thanksgiving lunch for our family and friends so there was a lot of preparation to be completed before Thursday. Days afterward were spent resting and recovering.

The image for this post was taken when we walked with our kids to a local middle school and raced each other around the track. The weather and exercise were great!

Working with a real Laravel app

I continued my learning before building that I began last week, but in addition to reading documentation and looking at a blank Laravel install I added a real app.

I had been a user of Quicken (personal finance software) for about 20 years. I liked that I could run simple reports on where I spent my money and track account balances while keeping the data on my computer. Intuit moved away from being a desktop app to an app with an online sync. My financial data would be synced with their servers in a way I was not comfortable with. I stopped using Quicken and started looking for an alternative.

About a year and a half ago when I was thinking of learning Laravel and in the middle of removing my data from Quicken to a Numbers spreadsheet I had the idea to look for a Laravel app for personal finance. A few searches later I found bdgt – a Laravel 5.5 app built by Sara Bine. Even through it’s a side project of hers there is enough functionality to make it usable for what I’m looking for. The only thing I needed to build was a simple CSV file importer.

This past week I started reviewing the bdgt app next to a blank Laravel install to see what’s been added to make the app work. I can also see some differences between Laravel 5.5 and Laravel 5.7. When I see something that’s been changed in bdgt that I don’t recognize I look back to the Laravel documentation to learn what it is. An example of this is the Contracts concept.

This method of learning has been very rewarding because it’s a lot more fun reverse engineering a working app than staring at a blank space wondering what to do next.

Other updates

I’m still working on my questionnaire and will contact store owners this week. I’m also working on some wireframes and a list of functionality. This is needed soon since it’s something that will be useful when talking to potential customers. This is all very new to me so there’s a possibility of wasted time. Either way, learning by doing is why I’m doing #BUILDSZN in the first place!

If you have any questions or comments please get in touch here!

See you next week!