I’ve finished up all the code behind DaveDaveFind, made sure the pages look nice, and run one last big crawl of the Udacity site and forums. It’s time to deploy the site for good and post it as a contest submission.
I’m impressed at how much I’ve learned in the last two weeks of work on DaveDaveFind (and the last seven weeks of Udacity classes). I now have a pretty good grasp of the Bottle framework, Google App Engine, using BeautifulSoup, interacting with a database, and styling pages with Bootstrap. In fact, I’ve even used DaveDaveFind a few times to look up information from the course, which must be a good sign! This project has turned out better than I expected, and I think it’s met my original goals: search all the course materials and use as much of the original search engine code as possible.
I entered CS101 as a total newcomer to computer science and a novice Python programmer. I knew how to use dictionaries, but had no idea that they worked well because they use hash tables. I knew how to write a
for loop, but had no idea why and when some might take longer than others. I knew it was possible to write a recursive function, but not how to do it correctly and think about the base case.
I’ve kept these notes in part to show how well the bite-sized thinking I’ve learned from Udacity can work. I brought a little bit of previous knowledge to this project, but I’ve taught myself much more in the last few weeks. Changing our basic search crawler code into a working web application took a lot of new code, but I wrote it all by breaking big problems into little ones, carefully reading documentation, and asking for help when I got stuck. I didn’t realize how much I’d learned until I finished this project, and I hope these notes will help other Udacity students do the same.
I owe huge thanks to Peter and Professor Evans for an excellent course and the opportunity to take part in this contest. To see the final production code for DaveDaveFind, visit the GitHub repository here.