We came into today's hackathon without a team. We didn't know anyone, we had no clue what we're going to make, and honestly, that's one of the best parts of a hackathon - making new friends and coding something with a bunch of random people. But at the end of the day you want to have a solid idea, a great team, and also find a way to get to that hackathon. That's what CodeCollab does.
What it does
CodeCollab is a platform for hackathon attendees all across America to post their next greatest ideas and form teams. Users can view the hackathons they will be attending, see the different ideas that other people have posted and join/make teams. If you have an idea of your own for a hackathon, you can add your idea to a list of ideas and specify who you're looking for, and how many members are needed in your team. Also, since a main issue for <16 high schoolers is how to get to events, ride-sharing with other hackers, including your teammates is utilized.
How we built it
We started off with a Google App Engineer Server, written in Python to parse the MLH.io website and get the data of hackathons that were needed. The iOS app was completely written in Swift 2.0, Xcode 7.2. We used a Firebase backend to save the users and hackathon data, what ideas/teams they're in and more. We utilized MapView and GeoLocation to get routes and places of different users going to the hackathon. We also created a web app that could list the hackathons and allow the joining of teams. We also plan to add facebook integration so that people can contact their teams via facebook messenger.
Challenges we ran into
The biggest problem CodeCollab had was the integration of Firebase, and getting the information from the GAE to the iPhone app. It took us an extensive amount of time to get Firebase up and running, almost giving up at one point because Cocoapods was giving us numerous issues. The problem with GAE was that since there was so much information, the app loading time ranged around 20 seconds, and the parsing was done haphazardly. Last but not the least, we had some major trouble when it came to using the MapView with the geotags of the ridesharers.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're very happy that we were able to create a functional app with a slick UI. We solved a major problem of idea collaboration, used a tricky backend - Firebase, and also integrated a Google App Engine Server, and various iPhone views.
What we learned
Never leave database integration for the last thing. Before you even start the app, make sure that Firebase, Parse, etc. work and the functions can be called. Also, time management was key for our app. We spent too much time on the first view, which didn't leave much time for the rest, screwing our efficiency.
What's next for CodeCollab
We want to push CodeCollab into the hands of Hackers all across the World. We know that this tool can be used extensively by all new hackers, and even experienced ones to work on ideas that they like, meet new people and make new friends. As the creators of CodeCollab, we all wish this product existed and know it will help us.