War Room Fall 2022 Update

September 25, 2022

At the end of August I made a sizable update to War Room, a social to-do list app that I started building a year ago.

It was the biggest update since building the app a year ago, so today I wanted to write a bit about those updates for posterity. 

The core of the app is a large dashboard that shows your tasks, your friends’ statuses and their tasks, and a feed of all the tasks that your friends have completed lately. 

The change that I made is that, over 3 days, I rewrote this dashboard in React, where previously it was Livewire

That allowed me to do small things, like smooth animations in the interface: 

Small interactions should also feel faster, due to a technique called optimistic UI (essentially, assuming that taking an action was successful and updating accordingly, instead of waiting for the server to confirm that it’s been saved and then updating). 

Excitingly, the move to React allowed me to move status editing into a quick overlay modal: 

Using emojis to react to friends’ tasks has also moved into a modal, and uses an incredible React-based emoji picker called emoji-mart. Seriously, I almost teared up the first time I saw it pop up in my app. 

Lastly, the rewrite allowed me to add something that’s been highly requested for a while: dividers. Tasks don’t have to be in a long list anymore, they can be in sections that can be collapsed away. 

Altogether, I’m super happy with this update. Rewriting the dashboard seemed like a complex undertaking, but in the end I was able to get a good momentum and finish it in just a couple days (empty days, thanks to the gap between my summer internship and school starting again). 

It also lays a groundwork for the UI that makes me excited to add features again.