Recipe Finder: Building a Full-Stack Web Application with MEAN Stack

Objective: In this project, you will build a full-stack web application called Recipe Finder using the MEAN stack (MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, and Node.js). The application will allow users to search for recipes based on ingredients, save their favorite recipes, and create a shopping list. By completing this project, you will gain a strong understanding of how to develop a complex web application using the MEAN stack, including handling user authentication, integrating with external APIs, and managing data with a NoSQL database.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Master the MEAN stack: Gain proficiency in using MongoDB, Express.js, Angular.js, and Node.js together to build a robust web application.
  2. Server-side development: Learn how to handle server-side logic, including user authentication, API integration, and database management.
  3. Client-side development: Develop skills in creating dynamic user interfaces using Angular.js for client-side scripting.
  4. Database management: Understand how to work with a NoSQL database like MongoDB, including data modeling, querying, and CRUD operations.
  5. API integration: Learn how to integrate with external APIs, such as a recipe API, to fetch and display data in your application.
  6. User authentication: Gain experience in implementing user authentication and authorization features to secure your application.
  7. Project planning and organization: Develop skills in planning and structuring a complex web application, including defining user stories, wireframing, and task management.

Steps and Tasks:

  1. Set up the project: Start by setting up the basic project structure and installing the necessary dependencies. Initialize a new Node.js project, install Express.js, Angular.js, and other required packages.
  2. Design the user interface: Create a user interface for your application using Angular.js. Design a home page with a search bar, a results page to display the recipes, and a user profile page.
  3. Implement user authentication: Add user authentication functionality using the Passport.js library and create a user model in MongoDB to store user information.
  4. Integrate with a recipe API: Register for a free API key from a recipe API, such as Spoonacular, and integrate it into your application to fetch recipe data based on user searches.
  5. Implement user features: Develop functionality for users to save recipes to their profile and create a shopping list. Implement CRUD operations in your application to manage user recipes and shopping lists.
  6. Deploy the application: Deploy your application to a hosting platform, such as Heroku, and set up a MongoDB database using a service like MongoDB Atlas.
  7. Test and debug: Thoroughly test your application, identify and fix any bugs or issues. Ensure that all features are working correctly and the application is user-friendly.
  8. Document your work: Provide clear and concise documentation for your project, including a description, installation instructions, and a demo video showcasing the application’s features.

Evaluation: You will be evaluated based on the functionality and usability of your Recipe Finder application, as well as the clarity and quality of your project documentation. The application should allow users to search for recipes, save recipes to their profile, and create a shopping list. The user authentication should be secure, and the application should be deployed and accessible online. Additionally, your documentation should provide clear instructions for setting up the project and include a demo video demonstrating the application’s features.

Resources and Learning Materials:

  1. MongoDB: MongoDB University offers free online courses to learn MongoDB.
  2. Express.js: The Express.js documentation is a great resource for learning the framework.
  3. Angular.js: The Angular.js documentation provides comprehensive guides and tutorials.
  4. Node.js: The Node.js website has excellent documentation and resources for getting started.
  5. MEAN Stack: MEAN Stack Guide by MongoDB provides a step-by-step guide.
  6. Building RESTful APIs: RESTful API Design offers a detailed tutorial.
  7. User Authentication: Passport.js Documentation provides guides and strategies.
  8. Hosting: Heroku is a popular hosting platform for web applications.
  9. MongoDB Atlas: MongoDB Atlas is a fully-managed cloud database service.
  10. Spoonacular API: Spoonacular API Documentation provides guides and examples.

Need a little extra help?

  1. Setting up the project: To set up the project, you’ll need to create a new directory for your project, open a terminal in that directory, and run the following commands:
npm init
npm install express mongoose passport passport-local bcrypt
  1. Designing the user interface: For designing the user interface, you can use Angular.js’s powerful features like data binding, directives, and routing. You can create multiple components for different pages of your application, such as the home page, results page, and user profile page. You can also use CSS frameworks like Bootstrap or Materialize to style your application.
  2. Implementing user authentication: To implement user authentication, you can use the Passport.js library with the LocalStrategy for username and password authentication. You’ll need to create a User model using Mongoose and configure Passport.js in your Express.js application. You can follow the documentation and tutorials for these libraries to get started.
  3. Integrating with a recipe API: To integrate with a recipe API, you’ll need to sign up for an API key from a service like Spoonacular. Then, in your Express.js application, you can create a route to handle recipe searches. Inside this route, you can make a request to the recipe API using the user’s search query and the API key. You can use the Axios library for making HTTP requests. The API documentation for the recipe service you choose should provide examples and guidance on how to make requests.
  4. Implementing user features: For the user features, you’ll need to add functionality to your Angular.js components to allow users to save recipes and create a shopping list. This can involve sending requests to your Express.js server and updating the user’s data in the MongoDB database. You’ll also need to implement the necessary routes and controllers in your Express.js application to handle these requests.
  5. Deploying the application: To deploy your application, you can use a hosting platform like Heroku. You’ll need to create a Heroku account, set up a new Heroku app, and follow the instructions to deploy your Node.js application. For the database, you can use MongoDB Atlas, which provides a free tier for hosting your MongoDB database in the cloud. You’ll need to create a MongoDB Atlas account, set up a new cluster, and configure your Node.js application to connect to the database.
  6. Testing and debugging: For testing and debugging your application, you can use tools like the developer console in your browser to check for any errors. You can also use console.log statements in your server-side and client-side code to log information and debug any issues that arise. It’s important to thoroughly test your application in various scenarios, such as user authentication, recipe searches, and data manipulation, to ensure everything is working correctly.
  7. Documenting your work: When documenting your project, you should provide clear instructions for setting up the project, including any necessary environment variables or configuration files. You should also explain how to use the different features of your application, such as user authentication, recipe searches, and saving recipes. It can be helpful to include code snippets or examples to illustrate your explanations. Additionally, creating a demo video to showcase your application’s features can be a great addition to your documentation.

@joy.b has been assigned as the mentor. View code along.