in MealMind

Making MealMind #3: Proof of Concept

I’ve been working on a proof of concept version of MealMind that I can use myself while I build the “real” version. It’s not really meant to do anything other than let me test out the general features/flow before I have to build out a more polished version with a more traditional architecture.

In this case, I’m still using Angular and ASP.NET Core, but it’s all super quick & dirty. The web UI is terrible, but it lets me get a better feel for what is and isn’t needed much better than a paper prototype or even a higher fidelity design mockup. I realize this approach wouldn’t work for everyone, but it’s faster for me to actually do my rough initial design with “real” code. I think the craziest thing in this proof of concept is that all of the data is stored in a handful of JSON files – no traditional database at all. It makes it surprisingly painless to save & load data, but it certainly isn’t something I’d ever do in a multi-user application. Skipping the database for this test version was definitely the right choice though. I’ve been able to skip so much plumbing code and get right to testing out the general features/flow.

I’ve put maybe 30 hours into the proof of concept at this point. It’s more or less usable for what I need, so I’ll transition to just using it for a few weeks. I may put a couple more hours in here and there if there is another feature I want to test, but I think it’s nearly “done”. I expect to start building some of the “real” app out while I’m testing (things like login, registration, setting up the base project files and tests, etc). I did think about opening it up for a few people to check out as-is, but I think it’s a bit too rough for that. I could clean it up, but I’d rather start the public product with a better technical foundation.

Overall, I’m really happy with this proof of concept. Even though I’ve just started using it, I’ve already found a couple of items that I should address when I rebuild it.