How TikTok Gave Me the Perfect Coding Side Project


Benjamin Carlson / September 01, 2020

3 min read––– views


As a computer science student, I am always looking for another cool side project to keep me busy. These ideas for side projects can come from anywhere; sometimes from the places you least expect.

The other day I was scrolling through TikTok when I can across this video. Basically, it’s about how there are people in this world born on the same day and were in the same hospital are you were. Neat, right? I then looked at the comments and multiple users were saying there should be a website for this. Immediately I knew what I had to do. In this post, I will talk about how I was able to build and deploy this site in only a few hours completely for free by using various popular coding technologies.

The Idea#

Before I talk about the technology, I want to quickly discuss what I am trying to build. Essentially, it is a website where users can create an account and input their information like their name, birthday, hospital name, and snapchat username (for a way to contact). After they do this, they can see a table of every other user who has inputted their information. They can then (hopefully) find others with the same birthday and hospital!

Over time I plan to add new features (because right now this is essentially an Excel spreadsheet clone), but for the moment that is the idea.

The Technology#

Now for the interesting part. Let’s look at the technology I used to build this.


Right off the bat I knew I was going to build this in Next.js. I had just finished uploading a tutorial series on YouTube about it and I built my personal website using it so I was confident I could quickly and easily get this site up and running with Next.js.

Next.js gives you the best developer experience with all the features you need for production: hybrid static & server rendering, TypeScript support, smart bundling, route pre-fetching, and more. No config needed.


My next challenge was deciding how and where to store the data. For this, I turned to Google’s Firebase. I had worked with Firebase before in various forms, including with Flutter and Vanilla JavaScript, but not yet with Next.js. No problem though, because Next.js has amazing documentation and example projects. I was able to clone this firebase auth repo and get on my way. As seen by the repo name, Firebase also helped in another way; providing a means of authentication.

Bootstrap + react-bootstrap-table-next + HTML/CSS#

To quickly build a UI for this site, I turned to Bootstrap, specifically react bootstrap. Using it, I was able to code the Nav bar and the Modals quickly. Then, I used npm package “react-bootstrap-table-next” to build the table for the data. This allowed be to dynamically generate the data and add a search bar easily (see code below). Both of these technologies accounted for 99% of my UI.

I also used HTML and CSS for some basic markup because, let’s face it, you can’t build a website without them.

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Hi 👋 I'm Benjamin Carlson, a college student studying computer science. I post weekly tutorial videos on my YouTube channel and build cool open source projects!