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BetterBooks live

BetterBooks is a web-app inspired by Goodreads that allows users to track which books they have read and organize them into bookshelves. It is a full-stack, single page web application that was built using Ruby on Rails a PostgreSQL database, and React/Redux.


BetterBooks uses Rails on the back-end. Rails is a MVC that we use to fetch data from our PostGreSQL database and forward our JSON data to the front end.

The front end is written in JavaScript and implemented using the React library. Redux is also used so the app utilizes a unidirectional flow of data for altering its state and triggering rendering.

Features & Implementation

  • Secure front-end and back-end user authentication using BCrypt
  • Library of books that can be browsed
  • Mark book to indicate if a user has read it, is currently reading it, or wants to read it.
  • Ability to add books to shelves to further organize books that interest a user.

Read Status

BetterBooks read status

Users have the ability to alter the read status of a book. When they alter a status it is automatically added to that users "My Books".

User Book Shelves

BetterBooks book shelves

Users can organize their books under different read statuses or into different bookshelves for easier access.

If a book's read status is updated it updates all instances of that book in the users library.

class Api::ShelvingsController < ApplicationController
  def show
    @shelvings = current_user.shelvings.where(book_id: params[:book_id])

  def update
    shelvings_to_update = current_user.shelvings.where(book_id: params[:book_id])
    shelvings_to_update.update_all(read_status: params[:read_status])
    @shelvings = shelvings_to_update
    render "/api/shelvings/show"

Associations between the user, the users bookshelves, and the the users books(called shelvings) connect a user to their books.

Project Design

BetterBooks was designed and implemented over the course of 10 days. The original proposal covers MVP features, timeline, and other documentation.

Future Improvements

Search function to look up books

Currently users must click on a book to access it and add it to there library. A search feature would allow users to more easily find a book(or find information from book descriptions) and add it to there library.

Add average rating to books

Provide an average rating for each book.

Add user profiles

Allow users to view their own profile and view the profiles and bookshelves of other users.

Add author pages

Authors should be clickable to see all the authors books and info on the author.

Add tags to book

Book tags would allow another option for users to parse through book E.g. a "fantasy" tag returns "The Hobbit" and "The Way of Kings"

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