By Sarah June FischerAugust 23, 2014

Code Fellows graduate creates app to aid Trap Neuter and Return community

Whether they join the development team at an established company or start projects and companies of their own, our students hit the ground running after graduation. Ewelina Kieley, a [Full-Stack JavaScript Development Accelerator](/full-stack-javascript-development-accelerator) graduate, recently finished an app that helps the Trap Neuter and Return (TNR) community track cat colonies.

The app was created for Pawzii, a pet licensing platform that was launched last year by Code Fellows graduates Alec Matias and Elmer Ward.

Ewelina sat down with us to answer some questions about what she did prior Code Fellows and why this project is crucial for TNR trappers.

What were you doing before Code Fellows?

I started a web agency called Makapen Co. officially and legally in January of 2014 (we are redesigning the website now, which will be complete by the end of next week). A couple of years ago, I was involved in opening a bakery/cafe in Atlanta called Swit; I fell in love with the process of crafting and developing a business. When I moved to Seattle, I wanted to pursue a startup and began learning web development. I began doing paid work for designing and coding HTML+CSS in August of 2013. Later, I partnered up with two friends (with whom I was working on side projects) to form Makapen.

Why did you decide to learn JavaScript?

My partners were both part-time, full-stack developers at the company while maintaining their full-time jobs. I needed to gain more skills to rely on myself to get more of the work done.

Tell us about the TNR tracking app that you worked on for Pawzii.

TNR is an application that helps trappers working in the field to quickly and easily record data using their mobile phone. Previously, trappers were using pen and paper to take notes, which were later reported to the office. A lot of information was lost this way and the data access was not instantaneous. The Pawzii TNR app was built fairly rapidly using Ember.js as a front-end framework and Firebase for a back-end. This note-taking app is centered around a map (Google Maps) where users can add cat colonies, which are represented with markers on the map. Users can view and edit the stored information by clicking on map markers or by finding the colony in the list view. I will be continuing work to add features and improve the experience for app users. I’m really excited about getting the app in trappers’ hands and working to make it as useful as possible to them.

Was this something that you were interested in creating before the 8-week course at Code Fellows?

Yes, actually this project was started before I entered Code Fellows. At that point, I designed the application and began coding some of the HTML/CSS. Doing the Code Fellows course gave me the skills to take the project from concept to completion.

What features would you like to add to the app in the future?

Features that will be included in the next version:

  • Search

  • Tiered accounts allowing organizations to share partial information with selected users

  • Ability to tag and alert trappers to facilitate division of responsibility

  • Displaying colonies according to different characteristic and indicating that on the map, maybe with different colored markers

  • Ability take photos of cats and tag them in the app

Did you build the app on your own or did you work with a team?

My original design was improved by the current designer working for Pawzii (Michael Fogarty), and my husband (Stephan Prockow) was my resource for Ember questions. He also, largely, completed the map feature.

How did you get connected with Pawzii?

Alec was a co-organizer for a Startup Weekend that I led in September 2013. I mentioned to him then that I was learning JavaScript, but wasn’t sure what I was doing. He offered to do code reviews of my work and I took him up on the offer later that fall. By December, I was helping out with some of his web development needs.

How will the app help the Trap Neuter and Return community?

The TNR community is not currently served by any software. Their problems are under developers’ radars. Pawzii’s application will allow for trappers to easily record, share, and search information, giving them more time to do their job. Additionally, they will have better information (they will be able to take photos of cats and colonies and attach them to their notes), preventing some of the confusion they run into right now.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I really enjoyed the experience of talking with some of the trappers in the community and watching them use the application. It made me realize how impactful it will be in their lives. I am also excited to work in a field where no one else is helping out. It gives me a greater sense of reward because I know the product I am building is badly wanted.


For more information on Pawzii and the TNR app, visit blog.pawzii.com.