Towards a Workflow for Developing a Loopback App

Several weeks ago, I came across StrongLoop's Loopback framework for node, and have been slowly starting to become familiar and comfortable with this as part of developing a custom node app with social login. The app will have be usable from both an Angular.js-based web app, and from an Android mobile app (IOS as well, if needed).

There is a considerable flurry of activity going on at StrongLoop right now, with many changes/fixes/features being added all the time (particularly from StrongLoop's Raymond Feng, whose workflow I would love to observe so that I could get even a fraction of his productivity). Maybe this is a common situation when building node apps. I don't know how often they are updating the npm registry, and I want to stay current with the latest in github. Further, I will likely need to fix little things myself in the core Loopback modules pending those things being fixed in the Loopback repos. I was trying to determine a workflow that would somewhat work with all these factors.

What I've settled on for now is to fork the Loopback modules I use, and then refer to my forks in package.json for my custom app. This includes core loopback, loopback-component-passport, loopback-component-push, loopback-component-storage, loopback-datasource-juggler, and strong-remoting.

I'm using WebStorm as an ide, which seems to work nicely with github, and have local projects based on my forks of the Loopback modules as well. I'm doing this rather than modify anything in the node_modules of my custom project, which would require turning off gitignore there.

Maybe there's a better/official way to do these things - will see how this works and what needs to change about it.

Incorporating a Dynamic Word Cloud into a Searchable World Tweet Map

This is a quick note about a simple feature added to the searchable world tweet map visualization. Namely, the wordcloud2.js project by TimDream was incorporated into this visualization, with the word cloud updated dynamically as tweets are received based on the search.

When you're watching tweets streaming by, your eye can kind of pick out patterns, but the word cloud gives a somewhat better (and sometimes insightful) summarization.

A Dynamic Word Cloud added to a
Searchable World Tweetmap
(word cloud implementation based on
Tim Dream's wordcloud2.js project)

At this point, nothing fancy is done to handle a moving time window, bigrams, custom colors, etc. Nevertheless, right off the bat it seemed to add an interesting extra dimension to this visualization.

StrongLoop/Loopback for Node App Gruntwork = Looks Cool

I am looking to set up a slightly more involved node app. Forced by twitter to use OAuth to allow using twitter's search api, I put together a couple of very simple node apps (such as this searchable world tweet map). It felt really nice to be using javascript throughout.

I now am looking into a slightly more involved app, where as before I'll use 3rd party logins, but also maintaining data for a user.

I will be wanting to have both a standard web site interface, and REST endpoints for mobile app interaction. I will also want to have a basic Android and iOS app that makes use of the app.

While I could do this myself, I decided to look around to see what was available to handle even more of the grunt work.

A quick search led me to StrongLoop's Loopback framework and it looks slick.

The features of StrongLoop
for simplifying node.js app development
look slick as heck

A number of things got me fairly excited about StrongLoop's Loopback framework:

A summary of Loopback and its associated modules is below (from their github site).

This has got me thinking of setting up a boilerplate app that has all the basic endpoints for user management, and has the groundwork for for iOS, Android, and web clients. Then, for a custom app you just start from there and add the extra stuff you need to quickly see if the app/idea has any traction.

No matter what I end up doing shortly, this looks really cool.

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