I usually write these blogs earlier in the day, but tonight I’m still at work finishing a large client website. If you didn’t know already, I’m a web developer. I design and code websites. My background is mostly in front-end development (HTML/CSS) but recently I’ve been expanding my skills into actual programming. So far I really enjoy it too. I’m the type that always got a kick out of solving math problems, which is kind of analogous to programming. You may also now know that my other hobby is gardening.
A few months ago I began thinking, “how can I combine my two hobbies and do something I’ll really enjoy doing?” Something that will really push both of my skill sets and give back to the communities. At the time I was doing a lot of planning for the garden and permaculture plan of Valhalla and noticed that the internet was severely lacking in these kind of resources. There was no website or even a simple database to catalogue information about particular plant species. The few databases I found only offered the proper species name. Whenever I found some usable information about a particular species, it was within an amateurish, poorly designed website that didn’t include any other related species.
So there was my idea. I’ll make an app to fill the gap™. It’s name would be ASCK. I often develop custom themes/websites for WordPress at work so I’m pretty familiar with it as a framework. Therefore I used it to make a quick prototype. It was decent, but I could only see it as being a library. The app I wanted to make would eventually be very dynamic and help people create plant guilds based on mutually beneficial species. I also needed to build a scraper that would populate it with as many species as possible, otherwise I’d get carpel tunnel. It wasn’t good enough.
I’ve recently ditched WordPress and have begun developing a full-fledged custom application. Ruby on Rails would be my framework of choice. I had dabbled in Ruby previously but was recently inspired to give it another go after seeing Rabbit choose it for a project he’s working on as well.
I’ll keep everyone updated on the progress of ASCK through this blog. When released it should be a huge help for anyone who does any sort of gardening and needs an easy reference for species.