It’s been a few years since one of my personal projects has been ready for prime time, but the Como Barber Shop site finally is, at least, I hope it is, it’s live at least.
Craig’s Como Barber Shop has been my favorite place to get my hair cut for many years (it used to be Pete’s Barber Shop, Pete’s still there, but Craig is running the show now). I’ve always enjoyed going there but there’s been one minor issue. They do not take reservations and they tend to be very busy (probably because they’re so good at cutting hair). So sometimes I walk down there, and the wait is too long (of course I could always have just called, but I do not usually think of that, plus it’s just not my style). I should point out, that waiting for a hair cut at the Como Barber shop is usually a pretty good time, I just don’t always have the time.
This project began when, after waiting a while to get my hair cut, I finally got on the chair and I was chatting with Craig about what I do at Clockwork, which is just a couple of block’s from the barber shop. He told me he had a plan for a web site to solve the problem of not knowing how long the wait was going to be. His idea was actually a pretty good; he was going to put together a physical model that represented the shop and use a webcam to create an over head view of the shop and he could put that on a website. As people came in the shop he could put down checkers or chess pieces (or something like that) so someone could look at the website and see how busy the shop was. This is exactly what I wanted. I told Craig it was a good idea.
A few days later I was working on learning the Meteor framework and I realized I could make a site like Craig describe pretty easily and it would probably be a good learning exercise. Of course, I was just going to use basic shapes to represent the barber and waiting chairs. I figured I’d probably make a little bit of progress, learn a bit and then move on to something else with out ever really getting that close to finishing.
A couple free evenings later I had most of the site built and a much better understanding of meteor, bootstrap and meteor-kitchen (which is a great tool for getting a meteor project off the ground quickly). I thought about showing Craig right away, but I got distracted and kinda forgot about it. Eventually though, I went back for my next haircut. I told him about it and he was pretty excited. I warned him it was not going to look that great and was not done yet, but I was going to be on a plane that next week and I’d see if I’d be able to wrap things up. Surprisingly I was.
Me and Craig worked out a “website for haircuts” deal. I got some feedback from Craig and things were set. Meteor makes it super easy to “deploy” a demo of a site, you may still be able to see the demo for this one como.meteor.com. It took a little more time for all the necessary arrangements to be made, but at last the site is live.
I’m pretty happy with how the site turned out considering I was still relatively new to the Meteor framework and bootstrap. It’s pretty amazing testament to both tools that I was able to build out something other then an example/tutorial project in such a short amount of time. If I’m a good software engineer it is definitely not because I’m the fastest. In total I spent about 20 hours or so on the project and that includes a lot of learning about the tools and libraries I used, communicating Craig and deployment (for deployment we used modulus.io, which so far anyway has also been a great experience).
I spend a lot of time thinking about the opportunities technology has to help us make better use of our time and resources. This website is a pretty small thing but if it helps lessen the “peak load” problem at the barber shop that will be very satisfying.