Developing the Hometown Tourist

I loved writing the Hometown Tourist, and it got great feedback from site visitors and community members. Though I haven't written an article for several years, the website continues to get a good number of monthly page views. I've wanted to get back to it for a long time.

Recently I enlisted the help of graphic designer Louise Jones to come up with a fresh look for the site. She created a beautiful logo and a layout to match. I can't wait for you to see it. There will also be t-shirts, and you will want one!

I've been going back and forth about what technology stack to use. WordPress is an obvious choice, but it's not my favorite tool, and I'd like to have more freedom to build in different directions in the future. I enjoy using Ruby and Rails, and it would give me all the power and flexibility I could want. I've also been wanting to learn the MEAN stack, and this could be a great time to try it out.

After much internal debate, I've decided to use a Rails API on the back end with an Angular front end. I'll have a lot of new things to learn and try, but I can also build on a familiar foundation.

For now, I'll keep things as simple as possible. First things first - getting the site up so we can add new posts and people can come and read about awesome places in our community. (And buy t-shirts.)

Later, I'd like to add a "Find near me" feature with geolocation. After that, I'd like to try building a native iOS app.

I just got Thoughtbot's book iOS on Rails. I'm starting with the Rails section because they do a great job explaining how to build a Rails API that will talk with another service. I've built a simple API before, but the Tourist will be much richer.

I've also been working through two tutorials on Thinkster. One is specific to building a Rails API with an Angular Front End. The other is called A Better Way to Learn Angular JS. It is in depth, and not at all a quick read. But I feel like I'm really learning how Angular works, so it's worthwhile.

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