One of our inspirations was definitely some members of our team have ourselves, experienced how hard it is to get started in the real world, either with starting organizations, or/and businesses. The world around us has become more and more digitized, and we wanted to focus on that which is why we created BizLink.
This also directly plays into the name of our application–BizLink (Business Link)
What it does
As someone who owns a local business, you can first create an account. This will give you access to a multitude of tools to customize your own page.
Each Business account can also opt-in on putting their business on a virtual map, where anyone can browse and look around.
After creating an account, you will get option to customize your own profile (profile banner, profile picture, as well as business name). You also get to post images or photos, along with descriptions of them so your audience can be notified of what is going on and who you are. There is also a link-tree feature, where you can include all your social medias in one place.
Basically an all in one manager website for your local business and community!
How we built it
We first used Figma to sketch out a design, afterwards, the design is then passed onto our front-end developers, which used HTML and CSS in order to have everything look the way it is.
Back-end wise, a lot of tools were included. The main back-end driver is Python, running the Flask framework. We used Mongo DB to store user data such as username, business name, address, etc (don't worry, your passwords are salted ;)). AWS was used to store images such as user posts as well as profile pictures and profile banners, we used a second database in Mongo DB in order to keep track of all the directories. Google's Map API is used to locate a businesses geo location using their address, and Leaflet.js to generate the map itself.
Challenges we ran into
Before deciding on HTML&CSS, we put in a lot of time to try to get React to work, since overall the front-end would look way more elegant. But since no one in our group knew beforehand on how to connect them together, we had to ditch the idea due to the time constraints we might've faced.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud to be able to make a working prototype of something in such a short amount of time. We are also proud of how we were able to overcome challenges and learn how to apply tools to programming, such as with AWS S3 bucket and Mongo DB.
What we learned and what tech stack we used
Graphics design - Learned how to use Figma more efficiently.
Front-end - Brushed up on HTML/CSS skills—glad this was a good learning experience for us.
Back-end - Brushing up on Flask, as well as learning how to use Mongo DB and other new tools.
What's next for BizLink
With our limitations but large aspirations, we actually also wanted to make it fully compatible with mobile devices such as IOS/Phone/Tablet.
We also would also definitely implement better and more user interactive graphics, and perhaps even move React into the mix.
Some features we wanted to implement, but time always wins are: More post features, such as being able to tag the location data, like them, comment on them, etc.