Coop Portfolio Gets a New Look

Published in Polar Mobile

As soon as I realized that this work term's report would be an extension of the website that I developed last semester, I was immediately excited. One thing that I did a lot of at Polar Mobile this semester was develop rapid web applications using mysql-backed Django. I wanted to take all that I learned over the period and apply it to a super maintainable portfolio website and over the course of a few weeks, that spawned into what you see before you.

The entire design of the website was built using Twitter Bootstrap and a few custom elements. Twitter Bootstrap is an awesome toolkit to make design a secondary focus by including common typography, forms and navigation elements. It allows developers to focus on the core of their product and we used it at Polar Mobile while developing Atlas.

Since I knew that this website would continue to be updated throughout my next 3 work term semesters, I wanted to build something dynamic that would not require a whole lot of reconstruction. Django turned out to be the perfect tool for the job in this case. One of Django's best features is its easy to use Administration area, which I am actually posting this article from. All of the work term information is dynamic as well in that I can simply add another organization for my subsequent work terms in a matter of button clicks.

One challenging aspect after completing my initial design for this particular website was to find a free/cheap hosting alternative. My old host did not support Django so I sought out something new. I ended up going with Google App Engine which offers fast deployment and development on Google's infrastructure. This meant that the common relational SQL databases that I am used to would not be viable. Django nonrel turned out to be the perfect project to tie everything together.

Looking back, I am pretty thrilled to see what I have been able to accomplish all thanks to the coop program and working at Polar Mobile. Working with python and Django certainly put some of the fun back into web development that I seemed to misplace when dealing with the dreaded cross-browser compatibility issues.

Written By

Andrew Halligan

Published November 29, 2011