Python Mind, Beginner’s Mind

Starting Out — the first of three blogs

Hello — thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. I’m a Python newbie who was selected to be a Python 101 mentee in the Spring 2017 Chicago Python User Group (ChiPy) Mentorship Program. Through July 2017, I will be working closely with my amazing mentor Nik Sharma, developing my Python skills while we work together on a project. Mentees will have the opportunity to present their projects to the ChiPy community when the program concludes in July. Not only will I be working one-on-one with my mentor, but I will also be participating in ChiPy coding workshops and sharing my progress in three blog posts along the way.

An online programming and logic course at the College of DuPage gave me my first exposure to Python. Through the class, I found that I loved working with the Python language but I found myself wanting more opportunities beyond the class to get more experience coding. I did an online search for local Python groups where lo and behold I discovered the active Python community called ChiPy. I discovered the Mentorship Program while researching the ChiPy website but was initially reluctant to apply because I was new to Python. Nevertheless, I took the leap and sent in my application; the rest they say is history.

Developing my app — The Inside Story

My project will be to develop a mobile app for diabetic patients that will help them better manage their condition; specifically, my app will allow diabetics to transmit their blood glucose (BG) readings directly to their doctor. My approach will be to align my idea with other successful diabetic apps like Diabetes Pilot Pro, Diabetes Tracker, and Glucose Buddy, then to critically evaluate them to see what is lacking or could be improved. There will be two phases to this project: Phase 0 (to show proof of concept) and phase 1. The intention will be to complete phase 0 at minimum for the 2017 Spring ChiPy Mentorship Program.

Phase 0:

1. Develop the front-end system for diabetic patients in which they enter their BG data, click, and send that to their doctor. Ideally, I would develop a beta version of the app to be tested by as many different ages of diabetic patients as possible to make sure it is user-friendly for everyone.

2. A fictitious doctor where the data will be sent and stored for HIPAA compliance. The doctor’s site will need to query an application program interface (API) in order to accept data from the patient. The app and its corresponding data storage will be connected via JSON (Java Script Object Notation).

How will this app help diabetic patients?

The proper control of blood glucose, i.e., blood sugar, is important to keeping diabetic patients healthy. Problems develop when blood glucose is too high or too low. This is where a diabetic’s medication, diet, and lifestyle come in (it helps maintain a normal blood glucose) and explains why diabetics routinely test their blood glucose (to make sure it is in the normal range).

Complications can develop if blood glucose is not properly controlled. What kind of complications are we talking about? We’re talking serious problems like kidney failure, blindness, infections, or stroke.

So the sooner the doctor knows that their diabetic patient’s blood glucose is poorly controlled, the sooner they can act to prevent complications!

My app will enable patients to send their blood glucose data directly to their doctor in real time. If a patient’s blood glucose is too high, the doctor can contact the patient to make changes to their medication, diet, or lifestyle to get their blood glucose back into the normal range. Complications averted!

Cool Tools

Check out the tools I will be using to create my app.

· Python

· JSON

· Flask

· Cloud9

· GitHub

· APIs

· Virtual environments

My goals as a mentee:

· Become proficient with writing Python code.

· Build a useful app that can improve people’s health.

· Use Python dictionaries and JSON to query databases.

· Learn more about Flask and virtual environments.

· Become involved with the Chicago area Python community.

In conclusion

I am excited and amazed at this opportunity to develop my Python programming skills under the tutelage of a seasoned programmer. So follow along with me on my journey! It is such a privilege to work with such generous, supportive people while I chase my dream of becoming a fellow Pythonista.

This is when you can expect to hear from me and see my blog posts:

1. April 20, 2017; Blog 1: ChiPy Python 101: Starting out

2. May 18, 2017; Blog 2: ChiPy Python 101: Full steam ahead

3. June 15, 2017; Blog 3: ChiPy Python 101: Wrapping it up