I have not posted in almost a month. The holidays were partly to blame. However, the development and release of a web application is the primary reason for the vacation. So, I am pleased to announce the launch of the Fun With Rockets Toolkit.
Fun With Rockets Toolkit
I got back into the model rocketry hobby around a year ago. I was somewhat frustrated by the lack of a consolidated source of rocket information. Some information was on a website, some in a PDF, and other bits on a message board. This was especially true when it comes to motors, motor reloads, and hardware.
So , part of this void is filled by this web application. Some of the goals of this project include:
- Provide up-to-date and accurate information to the user
- Use a simple and easy-to-navigate user interface
- Be data-driven, linking components to manufacturers to rocketeers and vice versa.
- Give rocketeers a place to show off their projects and log their accomplishments
- Give the hobby’s manufacturers a new outlet to generate interest in their products
- And finally, be as mobile-friendly as my development skills allowed
The development of this application started in October 2018. Initially, the application had a motor and motor hardware emphasis. As I got going, I realized I could add more features to the site. So I am resisting the temptation to keep adding features to get the application into production. On the other hand, this does not mean that the user cannot interact with the application and find value in what it has to offer!
The initial release has manufacturer information in the areas of rocket motors, motor hardware, and rocket kits. However, this data is limited to what I was able to easily pull from manufacturer websites and items that I own. I have reached out to some of the bigger manufacturers to gain easier access to their product information
I did extract all the kit data for Estes Rockets. The 2018 catalog of their arsenal is in the database. The motor information for Estes, AeroTech, and Cesaroni motors and hardware are in the database. Some cross-manufacturer reload information has yet be confirmed and added.
Registered users can create a rocket from a kit. Additionally, they can define its creation date, name it, and add pictures of their rocket to the site. Users can also set the rockets status (active, retired, lost, destroyed).
New functionality includes:
- A record of launches for rockets
- A utility to suggest motors based upon the kit material, weight, and motor mount size
- Launch field information and statistics
- Adding data fields to manufacturers and allowing them edit access to their data
- Items suggested by the users
I almost forgot, here is the link!
I have developed many web sites and applications in my professional career. These applications have included real-time missile simulation, robotics, telecommunications, and online, multiplayer games. For this project, the technology I used needed to be mature and easy to access. Consequently, this is the development stack used:
- Linux OS (CentOS 7.x) for development and production
- Ruby on Rails 5.x
- Bootstrap CSS
- Heroku as my production platform
- AWS S3 for image uploads and CloudFront for static assets distribution
- Git for the repository and pushes to production
Michal Hartl’s book, Ruby on Rails Tutorial was a vital resource for my success. It builds an application from start-to-finish with emphasis on testing and moving into a production environment.
Take the site for a ride and tell me how it went. I will keep sign ups open for a week or so to see how the server handles the load. In the meantime, see you at Tripoli Tampa’s launch this Saturday. The VFW Post 4284 rocket will be making its maiden voyage!