Flexible Cookbook PDF Generation

Also meet our newest team member, Jace.

Nice to meet you, I'm Jace!

I started at Brand New Box at the beginning of 2021. Ever since I was little, I wanted to make websites, but could never figure out how. In middle school, that all changed when I found programming and started to learn everything I could. Though I was never great at it, I was learning and happy with what I did. Then came high school where I joined Future Business Leaders of America and entered in a competition called eBusiness. The eBusiness consisted of building a webpage which had to contain a shopping cart. Looking back at it now it was probably the worst site I ever built, but it was my first and I was proud of it. Realizing how much I loved web development, I continued learning year after year by re-entering the competition, eventually even making it to nationals. All the fun I had with web development made it easy for me to choose my college degree: Computer Science.

That leads us to where we are now. Currently a Senior at the University of Kansas, I never lost my passion for programming. One thing became clear: the more I programmed, my true passion was web development. Although I enjoy programming in Python and C++, nothing quite has the spark that I get from web development.

It was sophomore year that I met the wonderful people at Brand New Box at a KU job fair. Being the nervous sophomore that I was, I tried to talk to them but failed miserably. Regardless of how my conversation went I went ahead and left my application with them, but to no avail. I decided in the Spring of my Junior year to submit my application online anyways. This was my stroke of luck; after meeting with Will and Ashley I was accepted as an apprentice here at Brand New Box doing what I have always loved, web development.

Enter Book Appetit - My Self Guided Project!

Upon completing a guided course on beginner level Ruby on Rails development, all interns are tasked with choosing an idea and bringing it to life. With my love of food and having the sole copies of my grandmother's cherished recipes, I thought there would be no better app to build than a cookbook generation app.

At first I was terrified of my idea. I felt that I still didn't have enough of a grasp on Ruby on Rails to make my own project, but I knew that if I put my mind to it I could do it. At first I struggled a lot, but day by day and hour by hour I could truly feel myself getting better. Things were starting to click and I wasn't having to call for back-up to figure out why my code wasn't working as often. Before I knew it I had the whole backend built, and not only was it built, it was working better than I had imagined. I was able to create recipes, create cookbooks, add recipes to books and organize them with ease. Once I had built a book I was able to actually download this book as a PDF, a clean and readable PDF! My mind was blown. I kept finding myself going back and playing with the program I had built because I was proud of it and just amazed with how well it worked.

Book Appetit
Here you can see my site Book Appetit with our collaborative Brand New Box cookbook.

Through the development of this site, I learned a lot about Brand New Box and development with Ruby on Rails. First I learned more about the development cycle and how large-scale projects are made from start to finish. Secondly, I gained a better understanding of how data is stored and related within Ruby on Rails. This is definitely one of the things that was key to the development of this site. One thing that wasn't as crucial to the development of this site but I think will play a large part in developing sites for Brand New Box was complex forms. Almost all sites use forms for various different reasons and making sure that I understand these well will help me further my development skills. The final thing I learned was that if I have an error that I just can't seem to figure out, ask Will. Will knows everything.

To The Future

Now that I have completed my intern project, I am beyond excited to begin officially working with the wonderful people here at Brand New Box. Although I feel that I have already learned a lot from just the one simple application that I have done, I know that I have only scratched the surface. I can't wait to see what I can bring to the team here and to give it my all as a thank you for this wonderful opportunity.