Inspiration

I've actually been building this project for about a week now. At the beginning of the hackathon I started working on a different site where you could run code by texting a phone number, and then decided to write a Role Playing Game in the programming language "Brainfuck". I ended up deciding that I'd have the most fun at this hackathon by just working on BizSMS.

What it does

Business owners can register an account and provide information such as their names, company names, and phone number. Their password is stored with very secure encryption (15 rounds of bcrypt). The business owner can then share their business ID with their customers, who join the business owner's message list by texting 'JOIN X' (replacing X with their business ID). The business owner can then, using the website, send a text message to anyone signed up on their message list.

How I built it

I used the Python framework web.py to build the backend for the site and the SMS API Twilio to send and receive text messages. Payments are fully functional and are handled with the payment processor Stripe. The layout for the homepage, as well as the header on the dashboard, is from a free Bootstrap theme called devAid.

Challenges I ran into

Not anything too serious. Just some bugs, which I was usually able to solve fairly quickly.

What you learned

I learned how to dynamically generate QR codes in Python. By scanning this QR code, an SMS draft is opened on the user's phone with the number and message body (e.g. "JOIN 3") pre-filled-out.

What's next for BizSMS

I'm planning on turning it into a sellable product. I have compared it to other similar services and believe it has better features, and much better pricing. I plan on starting with local businesses to test if my idea has potential to be successful. BizSMS is a temporary name.

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