Self-Directed Project

Project Description

The goal of this project is to create a successful web application from a project idea. You will create an app that will authenticate with a third-party service, consume an api, and solve an actual problem.

The project requirements are listed below:

Learning Goals

  • Learning how to build a full Rails app from idea to delivery
  • Revisiting previous concepts such as APIs and OAuth
  • Finding the strengths and gaps in your knowledge of Ruby, Rails, and organizing a project.
  • Use an agile process as you develop features
  • Configure a continuous integration server

Technical Expectations

Every project will be a bit different, but they need to share some common technical characteristics:

  • Use an external OAuth provider to authenticate users
  • Consume an external API
  • Implement a production quality user interface
  • Optimize your application optimizing your database, implementing caching, using background workers, and sending AJAX requests

Project Scope

A good project idea should:

  • Break down into logical iterations so that you can deliver a strong product on every checkin
  • Be something that real people would want to use to solve a problem
  • Have enough technical challenge to be worth your time (as opposed to a content challenge)


Your application must make good use of one external dataset or API. Some examples include:

Government Data

Corporate Data

However, the list is not limited to these. You can choose to integrate with a service of your choosing, as long as it is approved by your client.

Project Concepts

Your idea must be approved by an instructor and should be supplied in a gist using the following template…

Project Template

### [Project Title]

### Pitch

1 sentence that explains the value proposition of the application. How would you explain it to a potential business partner, team member, or investor?

### Problem

1-3 sentences describing the problem that you are trying to solve.

### Solution

1-3 sentences describing how your application will solve that problem.

### Target Audience

1-3 sentences describing what type of user your app would be applicable to.

### Integrations

* Which APIs will you use?
* Which OAuth integration are you planning to use?

Milestones & Agile Process

You will meet with instructors periodically during the project. The goals of each check-in roughly what should be completed before the check-in is listed below.


  • Create a board on Pivotal Tracker and invite your PM as a contributor.
  • Before you begin to implement code, write up 5-10 stories on your new Pivotal Tracker board. These stories must be written in present tense.
  • Once step two is complete, send your tracker board over to your PM.
  • Setup a CI Server

Pull Requests

  • For each story you create, there will be an associated story ID number. You’ll use this in your pull requests.
  • PR’s must be formatted as the following: 123456: Add user to database table, 789101: Add get_all action for user resource, 194385: Add create action for user resource, etc
  • Copy and paste the story URL into the PR. Tag your PM if you have specific questions. No need to have our approval to merge unless there is an issue that needs to be resolved.
  • Once you have run through and completed your original story list, write an additional 5-10 stories and send us a notification that they have been written. We’ll be expecting to see consistent updates.

“Standup” and Checkins

  • Every weekday at 2PM send your PM a remote “daily standup” style update via Slack that answers the following questions:
    • What have you been working on?
    • What are you going to be working on?
    • Is anything blocking you?
  • Every two days you will commit to the work you will have complete over the next two days and a specific time it will be complete. Work with your PM to determine when this will be.


Feature Delivery

1. Completion

  • Developer completed all the user stories and requirements set by the client.

2. Organization

  • Developer used a project management tool and updated their progress in real-time.

Technical Quality

1. Test-Driven Development

  • Project demonstrates high value testing at different layers (above 90%).

2. Code Quality

  • Project uses abstraction.
  • Project shows understanding of MVC principles (no logic in views, clean controllers, serializers and presenters to handle formatting rather than models etc.)

3. Technical Growth

  • Project uses at least one new technology

Product Experience

1. User Experience

  • Project is ready to demo

2. Performance

  • Average page load time is under 400 milliseconds.