Help with Data Structures

One key component of software design is the data structure or organization of your apps information (i.e. what info or input your app takes in, computes, stores and then outputs).  Having your data organized is important to the algorithms that will be using the data, otherwise things get a bit messy and chaotic.  Putting a little bit of work up front in your app’s data structure design will pay dividends later on (less code rewrite, less bugs/defects, better chance of full-functionality, etc)

As a quick example, let’s assume you have an app that sells clothing.  You’ll need to think about what data is needed for your app to function and provide value.  For instance, suppose your app sells pants, shirts, etc to adults and children (see chart below). And you also sell both a dress and casual version (dress only for adults).  With this very simple and quick exercise, you can start to “see” what your data is going to look like in your app.  From here, you can start to imagine not only what your data structure(s) will be but also how your code (algorithms) will read, manipulate, store and present information to users.  For example, the ability to search is a common activity for online shopping.  Based on the  chart, you can see there are key attributes (or variables) you’ll want to present to your users for filtering, such as type of clothes (pants, shirts, etc.) and gender (men or women).  By presenting your users those filtering variables (perhaps use a pulldown), they can intuitively find what type of clothes their looking for.

A chart like the one below can help you think thru what data your app will need.  It will also help you in thinking about the different functions your app will have (like the search or filter feature mentioned above).  You’ll also start to identify any gaps within features, or even across interdependent features, and be able to fill them in before development actually starts.

Men Women Boys Girls
Pants dress x x
casual x x x x
Shirts dress x x
casual x x x x
Dresses dress x x
casual x x x x
Shoes dress x x
casual x x x x
Jackets dress x x
casual x x x x

To see a real-world example, Vladimir Leytus did a nice write-up on how he cloned Twitter using bubble.is (codeless development).   If you read thru the article, you’ll see his more detailed version of the data structure he needed to re-create a Twitter-like app.  In the article you’ll also see how the data is represented in bubble.is syntax.  This article is a wonderful introduction to how powerful and capable bubble.is is for creating full stack applications with codeless development.  For more information or if you need help with your app, please let me know.

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