Textbooks are expensive. A student can buy a semester's worth of textbooks for tens of hundreds of dollars only to not need them five months after purchasing. There are currently a few options for Pitt students: sell it back to the bookstore for a fraction of the price you purchased it for, post it to the huge Facebook group and hope that someone sees it, or, what most people do, let it sit in your closet! We are in the business of saving students money, connecting them to the textbooks they need for the next semester, and promoting reusability of educational resources.
What it does
When you first sign on to Blitt, you will be prompted to log in or register. After successfully creating your account with your Pitt email, you will have access to a database of textbooks your fellow classmates are selling. You can post your own books to sell, and you can buy from others.
How we built it
We used Flask, a Python based framework to create this application, with its templates being created with HTML and CSS. Through Flask, we were able to create an instance of a database, store user login information, authenticate accounts, and create forms.
Challenges we ran into
The main challenge that come with learning a new language or framework is always learning how to understand its errors and trace the source of the problem. We were getting a few errors related to our database, so we had to get very comfortable very quickly understanding how our database was interacting with the rest of the application.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
What we learned
We learned about new kinds of tools used to create web applications. Before, we had some experience with HTML and CSS, but this project allowed us to hone our Python skills and look at web development design in a new way.
What's next for Blitt
We hope to continue working on Blitt and implement more functionalities including prompting the user for Pitt dual-factor authentication to make these transactions as secure as possible. We are specifically catering to Pitt students, and want to establish "safe zones" for students to meet in to exchange books. In designing this project, we were also considering adding a barter feature where we can connect students who are looking to purchase a book with another student who needs their book. Our ultimate goal would be to be able to sort various textbooks students are selling to the classes the books are used for, e.g. sort all books for MATH 0220. Removing the middle man in this process of buying, selling, and exchanging books will promote students to be fiscally responsible and minimize waste.