Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone in our group agreed that we wanted into create a project that would connect people. After a bit of brainstorming, we decided upon connecting bookworms and giving them a better platform for communication. The most popular platform in use right now is GoodReads, which seems better suited for tracking books and asynchronous reviews, so we wanted to create a version designed for live connection.
What it does
BookBuds connects book lovers with each other. After creating an account or logging in, users can create or update their profile with information about their favourite books, genres and authors as well as their contact information. In the Matches tab, they can then view other BookBud members who like similar genres. If a user likes one person's profile and wants to start a conversation, they can access their contact information and begin nerding out! There is also a global chat function to allow for real-time conversations with other BookBuds.
How we built it
We built the website on a Django framework hosted on AWS. We used relational databases to store user info in "profiles" and find "matches" based on liking the same book genres. The front-end was built on plain HTML and CSS.
Challenges we ran into
Owen: Achieving the main functionality we initially planned. Anna: Creating the profile forms and displaying them on Matches! It took a lot of tries (and a lot of help), but I made sure that I was actually understanding everything and not just copying code. Aris: We ran into some problems with use Google API's, and implementing how Firebase would work along with the app.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Owen: Achieving the main functionality we initially planned. Anna: Creating the profile forms and displaying them on Matches! It took a lot of tries (and a lot of help), but I made sure that I was actually understanding everything and not just copying code. Aris: I'm proud of having a working chat system that is held on Firebase, and can be used by anyone on the website.
What we learned
Owen: Working in a virtual team (delegating tasks, communicating, etc.) Anna: How to create, edit, and access SQL databases. Aris: Some of us had never formally used Github, but our teammates went through it and helped out with it. And learned more about how to use API's through the mentors.
What's next for BookBuds
We could continue to develop BookBuds functionality by introducing private text and even video chats between users; then, external contact sources don't have to be used and users can be afforded a bit more privacy. We'd also like to access book databases (like the Google Books API) so that users don't have to manually input their favourite authors and books and open up the possibility of generating book recommendations.