Parking in the Town of Cary has been a bit tricky. Businesses have preferred parking lots, there are varying restrictions on spaces, and it has been difficult to know when and where to park. This sort of problem could be solved by a business, but it is difficult to monetize. Enter Code for Cary, a brigade of Code for America. A group of civic hackers can mash together their skills and help out their local community.
I joined the team in the late stages before the application went to production. One challenge the team was having when I joined was with the application’s state. Many UI components and functions had prop drilling that was unwieldy. I helped implement React Context which greatly simplified the codebase.
Context lets you access state at any level within your application without passing props down and up the chain. This helped speed the team up extending functionality. I estimate it saved the team 1-2 development days which is consequential in a volunteer project.
The application also needed work on UX including accessibility and design inconsistencies. While accessibility is important for all projects, it is of particular importance on civic ones. I utilized Chrome Lighthouse to find opportunities to increase the application’s accessibility. It’s an ongoing pursuit as the application keeps changing.