Dan Hough

DoneApp Devlog 1

Published 15 May 2020 in Vancouver, BC, Canada

I’ve been working on a sort of hybrid task manager/event reminder/habit tracker called Done, or DoneApp (on my ideas trello board since 8 Apr 2019). I’m not sure which name I prefer yet.

Progress was good the week before last when I started, and it was a little rainy outside.

I’m trying to move quickly which in some cases has meant some big-ass files and not very beautiful code. But despite not strictly following many patterns on either the API and on iOS I’ve been pretty strict with testing. On both sides I’ve gotten things set up to use TDD (which was surprisingly easy in React Native) and in 90% of the tasks I’ve set myself I have in fact written tests first, which is extremely gratifying. I love that dopamine hit when the green dots come in. 💚 💚 💚

So far here’s my progress.


I started by just creating a blank Ruby on Rails project as that’s what we use at Jungle Scout and I don’t think I’ve ever done a whole RoR project for myself from scratch. After starting I learned that I could make an API-only project which is a little slimmed down. Since I’m only doing this for smartphones for the time being I only really need an HTTP API but I kinda got quite deep before realising that it was an option so for now it’s a regular Rails app which happens to only serve JSON.

I put it together by creating a docker container with a db service (on postgres) and a web service, which I think is a pretty common thing to do in this situation. Why postgres, you ask? Why not? I reply. I need a relational database and I’m currently using it a lot at work so it seemed like the right choice and there’s plenty of resources online.

Here’s what works:

I’m going for semi-RESTful. I was tempted to do GraphQL - and in fact I did start doing that last year at one point - but I decided I wanted to move quickly on this and work with something I’m much more comfortable with.


Tests are just rspec. I haven’t written many model tests yet, mostly just request tests hitting the controllers directly and mocking nothing. I feel most comfortable writing tests from the point of view of the client when it comes to APIs.


I decided to go down the React Native route. I could’ve gone back to my iOS days and written something in Swift and/or Obj-C but I’m also writing a lot of React at the moment so it’s nice to stay in the same headspace. Plus I wanted to see how slick I could make it with what feels very much like front-end code. The answer is: fairly slick so far.

Here’s what I’ve implemented so far:


I’m using yarn, but with react-testing-library (RTL) instead of enzyme. I’ve come to love react-testing-library after a colleague starting pushing for it to be used at work. In fact, since starting to use React one of my strongest suspicions was how conventionally, there wasn’t a lot of BDD-style tests going on. I’m sure it’s not new information but Enzyme really encourages testing implementations.

Anyway, RTL is great and I’m really enjoying it.

Next steps

Next I’ll probably be working on the “Create a task” experience on iOS, but not spend too long on it as I’ll probably modify the UX as I go. Then I’ll focus on associating Tasks to Users. I am going to do it using a linker table so I can create many-to-many relationships, in case in future somebody wants to have a shared task. (couples/co-habiters who both need to keep track of a plant that needs watering?). At some point, too, I need to think about where I’m going to host this API. I might just put it on my Linode to start with.

Heckle me on Twitter @basicallydan.