Building things for fun: The Internet Database of Nachos

Standard Code builds a lot of really, really important stuff. The software we write is used on multiple continents by thousands of people doing a wide variety of things ranging from analyzing drug distribution in impoverished corners of the globe to coordinating doctor's appointments in Colorado to helping restaurant professionals find jobs. But today we're gonna talk about nachos.

Sometimes we like to build things that we know have zero chance of making us money. Building websites for us is 2 parts "how do we help change the world", 1 part "how do we make money?", and 1 part "let's build some cool shit". Or at least in this case, let's have some fun with it.
So I built a crawler that found over 23,000 restaurants in 1,500 cities in all 50 states. For now, it just captures the name and location of the restaurant. It's all geolocated so if you pulled out your phone in the middle of Houston, TX it would tell you which places nearby has nachos.

We've built an API around this so if you wanted to include in your app some of the righteous data we've mined, go for it. We're working on building an Apple Watch app that will alert you when you're near a place that serves nachos.

For the nerds out there, I used PostGIS with Rails to store the geo data. Once I got over the quirky syntax to do a bounds search, it all worked pretty seamlessly.

Again, will this go anywhere? Nope. But it was fun as hell to build.

TJ
Aug. 20 2015