You Should Draw Project

Over the last two days, I’ve spent my evenings working on a quick project idea that I had called YouShouldDraw.com.

I enjoy watching Draw with Jazza on YouTube, especially his character design sessions where he comes up with random words to base his characters on and allows his audience to decide each piece via a poll. He is usually quite happy with the result and it stretches his creativity.

Taking that idea, I created a simple web tool that provides an idea for artists to draw. It has a simple options panel, uses AJAX to feel fast in generating new ideas. I think there are a million or so possible permutations depending on the options selected. It should produce some fun results.

youshoulddraw

I hope you’ll all give it a try, and let any artist friends you might know about it. YouShouldDraw.com

For those interested in some of the hurdles I had to overcome, I developed the site in PHP using a mySQL database. At first, I put gender in the database and randomly picked from the three options I entered but decided that was wasteful and instead moved them to an array where I used a function I found to do weighted randomization to reduce the display of the “non-gendered” option. Not that I have any issue with non-binary gender options, but I feel those selecting the gender checkmark are likely looking for a specific gender.

Another issue I had to overcome was that I wanted the proper pronouns in front of things. If a word starts with a vowel, I wanted it to use “an” instead of “a”. If a word ends with the letter “s”, I didn’t want it to show “an” or “a”. This became more annoying when I was building out the final sentence depending on the options selected as I only wanted to show the pronoun before the first word. After I completed a working version of the site, I came up with an idea on how to do it better, but I haven’t gone back and refactored my code as of yet.

The final challenge was that I wanted everything to be done via AJAX, and JavaScript is my kryptonite, so it was good for me to try using it again to see how easy or difficult it is. Ideally, I’ll go back and take out Jquery, replacing it only with the JavaScript that I need to run the site as Jquery is by far the largest single file in this project.

I have some ideas on optimizing the whole thing, but I’ll have to do some testing at some point to see if they’ll provide true improvements in speed/efficiency. It was nice to try doing a little from-scratch coding again.

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