The ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic has brought many opportunities along with the challenges. The lockdowns and social distancing phenomenon have given extra time to people for doing something different than their daily routines.
People with positive outlook have been using the available free time to do something productive and constructive. A Grade-8 student from Doha College has used his time at home to develop a website tracking coronavirus related data. Ahmed Jehad Aldeeb, a 12-year-old student, has come up with the website coronaviruslive.io
Ahmed recently spoke to Gulf Times about how he came across the idea of developing a new website. He said: “During the lockdown, I decided to use my passion of programming and computer science to produce a useful tool that would help people from around the world and learn more about the current pandemic. When I first started the project I did not find any websites that provided a lot of information and data about the pandemic. I also thought that the way different websites had displayed the data might be boring for the visitors.”
Explaining what technologies he has used to develop the website, Ahmed said: “Using my knowledge of Python and Node Js, I made an API (Application Programming Interface) that scraped coronavirus data off over 215 countries from all continents, gathering data like total cases, active cases, deaths, recovered cases, and more. This data is then saved onto a database as a JSON file that would provide the data to the website. “The website is just the interface; the experience of the user. The real challenge is how you handle the data and the back-end. Aside from this, the API consists of over more than 15,000 lines of code. It is designed in a way to retrieve data from 215 countries in almost real time.”
His website also includes a dashboard; where users can navigate easily and see the most recent news and updates. “I also included an interactive map, providing users with a beautiful and interesting way to check the latest updates for all countries. These are just some of the features that make it more unique than existing coronavirus tracking websites.”
He was fascinated with what he accomplished by watching YouTube tutorials, reading documentations and teaching himself how to program. “After the major release of my website, I have decided to work on a coronavirus vaccine API which tracks how many vaccines are in development in the world. I am also trying to experiment making a mobile app that also displays Covid-19 updates, and notifies the user daily and have them aware of the latest news without having to open the app or visiting a website.” Discussing his other future plans, Ahmed said: “I am also thinking about releasing the API and code to the public, so I can let other developers use it and not have to worry about having to retrieve specific data from hundreds of countries.”
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