The last remaining step for me to complete CS50 before the deadline this year (midnight today New Year’s Eve 😅), was the final project, where students are tasked to build our own piece of software.

CS50 Final Project

So long as your project draws upon this course’s lessons, the nature of your project is entirely up to you. All that we ask is that you build something of interest to you, that you solve an actual problem, that you impact your community, or that you change the world. Strive to create something that outlives this course.

My project is not in any world impacting camp, but I did decide on a project that is of value to me personally. I have registered beers on Untappd since 2013. I do like beer, but most of all, this application just happens to also be a rich source of data on where in the world I have been the past decade. I have been thinking about it for years, that I want create something with that data.

Untap what now?!

The main feature of the official Untappd service is a feed of what your friends are drinking. (I haven’t used it as a social network for a couple of years, but that’s a different story.) If you have a paid account, you can access quite a lot of personal statistics. But those are focused on beers and breweries, which badges you have earned, your highest rated beers, and most frequently visited venues. I can for example see a list of top 5 countries, but those are country of origin for beers I have had — not countries where I have checked in. The content I am looking is different from what the official application (and their business model) revolve around. I want to figure out how to present different data — focusing less on the beers and more on places I have visited. Cities and countries.


Researching the API 🕵🏻‍♀️

Venues and breweries will be interested in docs.business.untappd.com — but their public API is for developers like me. You have to apply for access. My application has been approved, and I have a personal API key consisting of Client ID and Client Secret. Which endpoints will I be interested in?

User Activity Feed

This gets me my check-in feed, which sounds exactly what I am looking for. What I don’t quite understand yet, is the limit parameter. The default is 25, but is 25 also the maximum number of check-ins I get from this endpoint? That’s no good when I want to access ~2500 check-ins 😅

https://api.untappd.com/v4/method_name?client_id=CLIENTID&client_secret=CLIENTSECRET

Okay we really should read up on REST APIs and figure out how to poke about responses in a browser. I can see now where the credentials go, and then where to insert the endpoint for user activity. I can add &limit=5 to use the limit parameter, and playing around with it I soon discover that while 25 is not the maximum, I never get more than 50. That’s a hurdle, but I don’t yet see if it is a show stopper or not.

Venue Info

There is also a compact parameter to remove recent check-ins, top beers +++ which sounds useful for my purposes. Example response excerpt:

{
"venue": {
"venue_id": 182152,
"venue_name": "BrewDog Nottingham"
"location": {
"venue_city": "Nottingham",
"venue_country": "United Kingdom",
"lat": 52.9541092,
"lng": -1.1436979
},
}

Perhaps I don’t actually need API calls?! 🤯

I remember from previous years of having a paid account: one of the perks is exporting data. Let’s see what data we get access to then. Oh my… okay. So how I understand it after studying my export: The way these APIs are designed — my best approach to create a personal travel journal is to skip the API, and instead export my data as csv or json. Not what I expected when I started this project.

Export Data

My first thought was that the export could get me past the limit in the API, then I could call the API to get additional info. But I see now that the export already has everything I am interested in, all the venue info and even photo_url. Each check-in comes with over 30 key/value pairs, here is an example excerpt of the most relevant:

[
{
"beer_name": "Svartediket Black IPA",
"brewery_name": "7 Fjell Bryggeri",
"venue_name": "Apollon Platebar",
"venue_city": "Bergen",
"venue_country": "Norge",
"venue_lat": "60.3897",
"venue_lng": "5.32309",
"created_at": "2015-01-31 21:36:51",
"photo_url": null
}
]

CSV or JSON?

How does it makes sense to work with this data set? Do I want to… 🤔 import it into a database? Perhaps that would make a project more maintainable or whatever, but for right now, I am good with using the raw data export. I want to focus on getting it into a browser. CSV or JSON? There’s not a complex nested hierarchy in this data set, there is one list with a single level for each item. CSV can be read row by row, but since I will be working with JS, opting for JSON is surely more native. Does the file size matter?

  • When I export my data as JSON it weighs in 2.7MB
  • and the same export as a CSV file is 841KB

I have seen package-lock.json files larger that this, so let’s roll with JSON.

Fetch API

I started with XMLHttpRequest based on reading MDN’s Working with JSON — but after a while landed on the Fetch API as a newer approach.

The DOM is alive with data 🎉

My program can now render data from the JSON file, and I have a function that will remove check-ins without a venue, that are not of interest for this travel journal.

But I have a bug to fix

The approach with using a forEach() method works nicely on my tiny limited data set in test-data.json but breaks when I change the file to the full raw data export. The page now gets a lot of null entries and I have clearly hit some kind of limitation, but no idea which limit. When I console.log(rawData) and console.log(newList) there is a difference in length: 2543 vs 1783 items. I can see that some check-ins without a venue are removed, but many are not. It’s like the function just can’t quite keep up…? But I’m confused by how the diff in length is completely consistent.

Copying the original array, and then using splice() to remove felt weird. Now I want to see what happens if I flip it around. Start with an empty array, check for venue, then use pop() to add items. Even if I meet a similar limitation, this will be more robust. An incomplete new list is an improvement over a list that contains empty venues. The most important feature of my app right now is getting an awesome list of places. And yay, the function now creates a list of 1620 items without rendering any null venue check-ins to the DOM.

Dates? Times? DateTime! 📆

A journal needs dates, right? And there are many ways to overcomplicate this. Did anyone mention… time zones?! But simple does the trick. JSON has no concept of dates, the value is a string of numbers, dashes and colons.

"created_at": "2013-01-25 15:09:40"
"created_at": "2014-07-23 12:24:26"
"created_at": "2021-08-14 21:39:39"

JavaScript has Date as a standard built-in object.

Date objects contain a Number that represents milliseconds since 1 January 1970 UTC.

// Turn JSON string into an actual Date object
item.created_at = new Date(Date.parse(item.created_at));

Next I can use Intl.DateTimeFormat for date and time formatting that even speaks Norwegian if I want.

// Format date to something readable
var formattedDate = Intl.DateTimeFormat("en-GB", {
day: "numeric",
month: "short",
year: "numeric",
}).format(item.created_at);

City as home vs travel destination

After removing entries without location and repeat check-ins at the same venue same day, I am left with 871 items in the list. Still too much noise. Many are from Bergen when I lived there, and then from Oslo where I live now. For a proper travel journal, I need some logic to only flag as interesting the check-ins from cities that I did not live in, but only at that time. I don’t want to remove entries from both cities all together, because both Bergen and Oslo have also been frequent travel destinations for me.

Thankfully I have only moved to a different city once during these 9 years, and figured out how to end with 346 items in my list:

// Skip any items from cities that I lived in at that time
const movedToOslo = new Date("2015-08-31");
if (
item.created_at.getTime() < movedToOslo.getTime() &&
item.venue_city === "Bergen"
) {
interesting = false;
}
if (
item.created_at.getTime() > movedToOslo.getTime() &&
item.venue_city === "Oslo"
) {
interesting = false;
}

The journal also has photos 📸

Some check-ins also have a photo_url directly to Untappd that I can reference inside an <img src="">. Since most of the entries don’t have a photo though, I decided against trying to present them in direct connection to the list. But a separate gallery at the bottom of the page looks pretty cool!


Roadmap and WIP 🚧

There are so many things I want to keep working on with this project!

The current WIP feature I didn’t complete before submitting the project, is improving the list of countries. The JSON export contains 16 different countries and several are in local languages, which is cool but also difficult for me to read in some cases. I want to translate to English and also add emoji flags!

const countries = [
{
org: "Sverige",
eng: "Sweden",
flag: "🇸🇪",
},
{
org: "臺灣",
eng: "Taiwan",
flag: "🇹🇼",
},
{
org: "ประเทศไทย",
eng: "Thailand",
flag: "🇹🇭",
},
];