Project: Flatiron Motors!

Eric C Smith
2 min readOct 25, 2020


We are at the end of 3 weeks of bootcamp, and just finished our final projects of the first phase the school calls “Mod 1”. The project is supposed to demonstrate mastery of the concepts taught, and as such has to contain certain elements, like use of proper OO concepts, DRY programming, use of Active Record to create and update databases, and the ability to extract information from remote sources using APIs.

Beyond that, we were free to build whatever our imaginations could dream up….sort of. At our first meeting, my new project partner and I decided that we both really liked “cars”, so hey lets do something with “cars”, like a car finder app! Yeah, we’ll scour car websites, extract the information that would *of course* be completely available, and manage it with a nice CLI, it’ll be totally awesome!…

Except that it was totally not awesome, at all. We got about a day’s work into it (which was 25% of our total time) before we realized that the APIs that dealerships use to populate their websites contain all kinds of hard to get info, access to them is very valuable, and the people who developed these databases and APIs know this.

Ergo, they don’t give away access to them for free. We couldn’t find a single source of info on car availability that wasn’t under lock and key. So, there went one of our deliverables, right out of the gate. So if any future Flatiron students are reading this, here’s a Top-Tip: before you get started, visit and take a look at what you can definitely get access to for free, and then harness your creativity appropriately.

As it was, we had to waste a lot of time creating fake instances of cars with which to seed our database and test our code. No bueno.

It was okay though, we ended up building a cool “super-user” mode into our app that was well received even though it had basically nothing to do with any of our deliverables. Sometimes you have get creative, especially when fixing your original reckless creativity, which came back to bite you in the rear.