When we first started brainstorming ideas, we wanted to focus on a project that would help mitigate the social isolation we’ve all experienced due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic. That led us to reminisce about the happiness and joy we experienced as children and all the classroom activities we had a chance to participate in, which the elementary students these days haven’t experienced for the past year.

From this, we ended up with Bucket of Care, an online implementation of the buckets of compliments and kindness we physically filled (with fun notes!) for our classmates when we were younger. By sending messages of kindness, we can fill our friends’ buckets, hopefully making them happier, more confident, and stronger! And although the idea stems from an activity we did as children, the platform is meant to be used by both children and adults because everyone deserves to have their bucket filled!

What it does

Bucket of Care is an application that allows users to send kind, anonymous messages to each other. When users first come on the site, they will be greeted with a welcome screen that will enable them to add their name to the pool of possible recipients. From there, they’ll be able to switch between two other pages: Send a Message and Receive Messages. As the names imply, these pages allow users to send messages to recipients in the pool and access messages sent to them by their peers.

How we built it

  • AppSmith, the base of the application, interface design and flow of the application,
  • CockroachDB, a SQL database management system, to store all of the information about our users and keep track of all their encouraging messages!
  • Cloudinary, a cloud-based image and video management service to send and receive messages which include images
  • Adobe Photoshop and Canva for the logo design and animation

Challenges we ran into

We used a lot of software for this hackathon that we haven’t used in the past: Cloudinary API, AppSmith, and CockroachDB. As a result, a large amount of the time we spent working on this hack was reading documentation and debugging as we learned the programs’ quirks.

This was especially true for Cloudinary since it had extensive documentation, and it took a while for us to figure out the right places to look. We had to learn GET and POST requests and dig through Cloudinary documentation to determine how to use the API.

For our usage of AppSmith, our most significant difficulty after learning how to use the program was collaboration. Since the platform isn’t made for multiple users to be changing code simultaneously, when we accidentally did so, we often lost progress before we learned about this quirk. After that, we had to start alternating the editors on the program, which prevented us from debugging each other’s code simultaneously.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

In our hackathon experience, we’ve mainly worked with hardware and the C language to create our hacks. However, since we’re online for this hackathon, we were pushed outside our comfort zone to make this application on the web. Still, we are pleased that we could create something that will hopefully bring a little more happiness, kindness, and connection to the rest of the world.

What we learned

We learned about:

  • the connection between the front and back-end applications
  • implementing APIs, specifically Cloudinary, to upload images in the Send a Message tab
  • how to use SQL databases like Cockroach
  • coding in JavaScript, which most of us did not know before
  • how to integrate our queries with our front-end cod

What's next for Bucket of Care

We hope to add:

  • A content filtering system to prevent the anonymous submission of rude or derogatory messages to peers in the future.
  • A split for the database into various “teams/organizations” so that it can be used for specific groups of people. This would allow workspaces to receive messages from their workspace and classrooms to receive messages only from their peers.
  • An administrator role, which would be able to see, approve, remove, and filter messages.

We think that Bucket of Care could be a way to lift the spirits of children and adults alike during this time and help facilitate social bonding and encouragement. Even in the future, Bucket of Care can be a way for people to continue sending kind messages to one another, filling buckets with joy in the classroom, the workplace, and anywhere else.

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