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The Integrity Intern

From what I can tell, I'm the first intern at Integrity Inspired Solutions. It truly is an honor. As a reward, I get to write a series of blog posts about my experiences and enlightenment so that I'm not also the last. This post begins the Intern series - a day in the life of sorts, with a little commentary and not too much introspection.

I usually arrive around 8:30 in the morning, having slept in too late every single day this summer to go for a run, despite the intense motivation our Strava-powered Slack channel elicits. I empty and refill the ice trays, making myself a nice cup of ice water; only now am I ready to begin checking my email. Many seconds later, I finish checking my email, so I get to work on my grand summer project, Vegan Beacon, running a git pull. Version control, and git in particular, is one topic I've learned a lot about this summer. I plan on writing a separate post on the similarities and differences between my internships at Black & Veatch and Integrity Inspired, but I can say, while I spent days last summer just trying to move my tiny unit tests into dev, this summer I move commits through to our master branch with ease. You could say I feel empowered. Two other subjects I want to address in more depth are Integrity's Kanban process and Minimum Viable Product ideation, both of which have largely impacted the progress of Vegan Beacon.

At this point, I've begun pulling cards from the Kanban board for features to implement and bugs to fix in the Vegan Beacon app, so it seems a good time to mention what Vegan Beacon is, for those who have wrongly decided not to read Ryan's more in depth post about this very subject. In short, Vegan Beacon is a social media app for vegans or those interested in trying vegan options. Users of the app light beacons containing a picture of the food and a comment at the restaurant or other location where they found the vegan food. There's a large and growing market for vegan food, so we hope Vegan Beacon will support both the individuals and businesses who would like to take part.

I should mention the technical specifics of the app, since I deal with them everyday, good or bad. It's built in Nativescript, which is the mobile version of Angular. The app components are written in HTML, styled in CSS, and connected with Typescript. To store the users, locations, and beacons, we use Google's no-SQL database called Firestore.

Nativescript produces the Sidekick program, which (theoretically) provides the ability to build easily and run on both iOS and Android emulators. In practice, I've written a good portion of this post while waiting for Sidekick to perform a clean rebuild. However, that's all to be expected when dealing with the additional complexity of mobile development, especially when it's cross platform; there's just a lot that can go wrong. Additionally, this is my first time working with a relatively new technology, in Nativescript. There's a pretty active community, but on occasion I experience issues or errors that few to none have solved or even witnessed themselves. In that way, frustration leads to creativity in order to solve new problems. That's been a significant lesson for me this summer. There's something fulfilling about working on a project or technology that requires innovative answers.

I just finished a new feature for Vegan Beacon, allowing users to like beacons, by effect increasing both the user's and the restaurant's popularity. Yes, vegan food can be gamified, if you were wondering. Now it's time to go to our biweekly company retrospective, where we look back on the past two weeks and evaluate what we've done well and what can be improved. We also eat. Today it's pizza from Papa Keno's. Lately we've been discussing the future of Integrity, as Phil and Travis have been crafting a 5 year vision for the company that ideally provides direction towards a shared image of success. It's been exciting to hear about and contribute to the vision, which does in fact mention a future for more interns like myself. They say I might even get to come back!

The retrospective is complete, and now I have to go home. It's unfortunate I have to leave the paradise which is Integrity Inspired Solutions, but I'll be back tomorrow with an average night's sleep, ready to go to work on Vegan Beacon and to make the world a better place in the process.


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