We came across a problem: At peak hours, the waiting line at the UC Merced Lantern Cafe was just tooooo long. With classes starting around the clock, we wanted to find a way to 'break' the line. Thus the idea of Cat-Fé was born.
What it does
The iOS app has the Lantern Cafe's menu readily available to order a coffee at the touch of a button. Simply choose the desired drink, divided up by sections, then choose your size/extras. The price will be displayed and the order will be ready to pickup in as soon as 5 minutes. Lines, begone.
How we built it
We used Xcode to build the iOS app in the Swift programming language. There is an order making app, for the customer, and the receiving end, for the employee taking care of the orders. The available balance of the customer is displayed, and the money is subtracted once an order is made.
The customer's app was built by utilizing Apple's UIKit. We used tables, sections, time picker, buttons, etc. After finishing the UI, we added functionality to the app. This included pushing the order to the iCloud server using CloudKit. That was our backend.
This is where the employee app came in. Once an order was pushed to the server via the customer app, the employee app, a single page table, received the order. The orders were organized into rows and displayed the customer's drinkName,customerName, and pickupTimeWanted.
All that was left was to make a way for the employee to complete the order and remove that entry from the database. With more effort, we pushed through and got it to work.
Challenges we ran into
We ran into formatting issues, updating server problems, and problems with fetching the data from the iCloud server.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of being able to get a backend working through the unfamiliar CloudKit, which is something we haven't used before.
What we learned
We learned how to use Apple's CloudKit API for our iOS database. We also learned to work with intermediate UI designs as well as views in iOS. We learned to work as a team, which is an essential skill especially in the tech industry. Last but not least, we learned that ideas which tackle university problems have great potential.
What's next for Cat-Fé
Integration with UC Merced's Lantern Café. The app has potential but it's still not near full completion. We want to use this experience to continue exploring the feasibility of the project.