The idea for Bubbles originally started as a suggestion from Edward Liang for a "message in a bottle" application. The idea to turn the application into a social media app came from a brainstorming session on how to make it more entertaining. During the brainstorm, we initially envisioned people running after messages to see what was inside. We also thought it would be cool to receive messages that floated from across the country or across the world.
What it does
Bubble is an anonymous social media application that allows users to send messages with pictures and text to various parts of the world in a target direction rather than towards are target individual. Bubble users also have the ability to open messages that float past them. The locations of messages are shown in the application through the use of the Esri Map Tools.
How I built it
The Esri ArcGis API was used to build the map and display the coordinates of messages that were floating in various directions. The Parse API was used for the backend services; data for each message sent from an individual phone was stored on the server. This data included velocity of the message, location, text, and images. Lastly Inkspace was used to create custom icons and graphics for the app, which were animated using native android methods/functions.
Challenges I ran into
The largest challenges we faced involved learning the intricacies of the APIs that were used in building the application. For example, debugging some of the Parse and Esri exceptions that we ran into was very time consuming. Furthermore, learning how to use the APIs took a decent amount of time as well.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The application is fairly robust and a lot of effort was put into creating a relatively nice UI. We're also pretty proud that we were able to complete the application in 24 hours.
What I learned
Hackathons are very very long. We also learned a lot about using the Parse and Esri ArcGis APIs, and Android programming in general.
What's next for Bubble
We'd like to continue working on implementing features for Bubble and scaling the project overall. Some additions that could be implemented in the future include money transfers and sending out advertisements for companies.