Mobile State Population

The goal is to query the census bureau about state populations. Create a web that does this. Then create an Cordova based mobile app that does that same thing.

Getting Started

You need to get a key from the US Census bureau.

Deck with at least a few notes on US Census:

I want you to turn in two projects:

  • Week04-StatePopulation (A web app)
  • Week04-MobileStatePopulation (Essentially the same app, but on a mobile device with Cordova)

Watch the video:

Don’t Check in the platform Directory

Before turning in the Cordova project, be sure to add platforms to your .gitignore file. When you type cordova platform add android, a number of big files get placed in the platforms/android directory. Before you issued the command, the platforms directory should be empty. Just to be sure we don’t check in any platform specific code, let’s omit the whole platforms folder, which I can easily recreate on my side.

To be sure everything is working out correctly, after you add platforms to your .gitignore file, go ahead and add everything in your project:

git add .

Now check your status:

git status

If you see that somehow platforms is being added to your check in, you can easily undo the add like this:

git reset platforms

The actual path to your platforms directory may differ. For instance, it might look like this:

git reset Cordova01/platforms

Or what have you. The point is that it is easy to undo a git add. Now fiddle with your .gitignore file and try again. Please try to avoid checking in the platforms folder.


I was able to start the web app from WebStorm by right clicking my HTML file in the Project window at the left of the IDE. I chose run from the menu.

The package.json file, with a few fields you should change to mark your own repository and homepage.

  "name": "StatePopulation",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "Query the Census Bureau",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "mocha --watch Test"
  "repository": {
    "type": "git",
    "url": ""
  "keywords": [
  "author": "Charlie Calvert",
  "license": "MIT",
  "bugs": {
    "url": ""
  "homepage": "",
  "devDependencies": {
    "mocha": "^2.1.0",
    "chai": "^1.10.0",
    "grunt": "^0.4.5",
    "grunt-contrib-clean": "~0.6.0",
    "grunt-contrib-compress": "~0.13.0",
    "grunt-contrib-copy": "~0.7.0",
    "grunt-contrib-jshint": "~0.10.0"

There is nothing new about the call to $.ajax:

     type: 'GET',
     url: queryUrl,
     success: successFunc,
     error: errorFunc

For a bit I thought that turning off caching might help (cache: false). However, this seems to break my queries, so don’t use that option.

How to create the URL you pass in when calling $.ajax:

params = "&for=state:" + $("#statePick option:selected").attr('data_index');
var queryUrl = "" + myKey + "&get=P0010001,NAME" + params;

The select code:

	<option data_index="01">Alabama</option>
	<option data_index="02">Alaska</option>
	<option data_index="04">Arizona</option>
	<option data_index="05">Arkansas</option>
	<option data_index="06">California</option>
	<option data_index="08">Colorado</option>
	<option data_index="09">Connecticut</option>
	<option data_index="10">Delaware</option>
	<option data_index="11">District of Columbia</option>
	<option data_index="12">Florida</option>
	<option data_index="13">Georgia</option>
	<option data_index="15">Hawaii</option>
	<option data_index="16">Idaho</option>
	<option data_index="17">Illinois</option>
	<option data_index="18">Indiana</option>
	<option data_index="19">Iowa</option>
	<option data_index="20">Kansas</option>
	<option data_index="21">Kentucky</option>
	<option data_index="22">Louisiana</option>
	<option data_index="23">Maine</option>
	<option data_index="24">Maryland</option>
	<option data_index="25">Massachusetts</option>
	<option data_index="26">Michigan</option>
	<option data_index="27">Minnesota</option>
	<option data_index="28">Mississippi</option>
	<option data_index="29">Missouri</option>
	<option data_index="30">Montana</option>
	<option data_index="31">Nebraska</option>
	<option data_index="32">Nevada</option>
	<option data_index="33">New Hampshire</option>
	<option data_index="34">New Jersey</option>
	<option data_index="35">New Mexico</option>
	<option data_index="36">New York</option>
	<option data_index="37">North Carolina</option>
	<option data_index="38">North Dakota</option>
	<option data_index="39">Ohio</option>
	<option data_index="40">Oklahoma</option>
	<option data_index="41">Oregon</option>
	<option data_index="42">Pennsylvania</option>
	<option data_index="44">Rhode Island</option>
	<option data_index="45">South Carolina</option>
	<option data_index="46">South Dakota</option>
	<option data_index="47">Tennessee</option>
	<option data_index="48">Texas</option>
	<option data_index="49">Utah</option>
	<option data_index="50">Vermont</option>
	<option data_index="51">Virginia</option>
	<option data_index="53">Washington</option>
	<option data_index="54">West Virginia</option>
	<option data_index="55">Wisconsin</option>
	<option data_index="56">Wyoming</option>
	<option data_index="72">Puerto Rico</option>

And this one:

    <select id="populationPick">
        <option data_index="P0010001">total</option>
        <option data_index="P0080003">whites</option>
        <option data_index="P0080004">blacks</option>
        <option data_index="P0080006">asians</option>
        <option data_index="H00010001">house_units</option>
        <option data_index="H0100001">occupied_house</option>

No access control

You might get an error message like this:

 XMLHttpRequest cannot load,NAME&for=state:01&_=1422639787489. No 'Access-Control-Allow-Origin' header is present on the requested resource. Origin 'http://localhost:63342' is therefore not allowed access. The response had HTTP status code 400.

This makes it look like we are getting cross domain error. But that is not the case. For me, this error usually just means that I have some syntax error in my program. When I fix the syntax error, then the message shown above goes away. We will probably be able to avoid this mess altogether if we create the mock (httpbackend) tests in jasmine.

Turn it in

Submit both projects and a screen shot of your application running in a VirtualBox AndroidX86, or on your phone, or both. Feel free to add a bit of CSS to make it more interesting.


Here is what the web app looks like, at least on my system: