“Checking Out the Web App”

August 24, 2019

When you first connect to Selfie2Anime.com with your mobile or desktop browser, you’ll be greeted by the web app that lets you take or choose your selfie and upload it to our web service, which will subsequently push them through the GAN and send the anime-selfie back to you. As the first point of contact, it makes sense to start here on our journey through the system.

Here's how it works!

Instead of showing a nice big shiny header image that is common nowadays with modern websites, we’ll instead give you direct access to the core functionality of the website: taking/choosing and uploading your selfie! Smile

Results based on selfies of early users

The website is based on VueJS, a lightweight, progressive front-end framework that was ideal for getting this site up as quickly as possible. Using VueCLI, a command-line tool that comes with Vue, allowed us to bootstrap the build-process with Webpack and set up a development environment quickly.

For this project, we committed ourselves to rapid prototyping a fast dev-release cycle, allowing us to stay agile in the uncertainty of where this project will lead us. This approach has certainly come in handy multiple times once we started to pick up traffic and ran into scalability issues. More on those soon! Wink

Designed as a single-page app, we managed to set up a working prototype of the front-end in a few hours time. If you checkout the source code on Github, you’ll notice that the content has largely been placed directly into the HTML of the site. While this is by far not an optimal way to structure a web app, it made it possible to focus on the widget at the top of the site, which lets our users pick a selfie, crop it to the right size (cheers to Croppr.js for a lightweight VanillaJS solution), and upload it to our back-end.

Building the website with VueCLI/Webpack through NodeJS and running a few customizations (mainly generation of the portfolio and auto-optimization of images) will produce a standalone app that can be hosted independently of the back-end and is completely client-side rendered, allowing us to disconnect the front-end from the back-end and only communicate through a dedicated and stateless RESTful API. This was important from the perspective of scalability and will be discussed in one of the upcoming posts. Smile

I’d like to finish this first post on the implementation of the system by showing off a few more anime-selfies that have been generated recently. Here they are:

See you soon for more details on the back-end!