Snow days are interestingly enough the perfect time for middle and high school students to turn into entrepreneurs. What do I mean by this? Every year when we had a big storm, kids would grab their shovels and take off around their neighborhood, seeing if they could make a few bucks helping someone shovel their drive way or side walk. This app is an extension of that, allowing neighbors (folks within a specific zip code) to ask each other for help on snow shoveling, lawn mowing, taking care of pets and more.

What it does

Once you register for the Android app, you can post a "Request" to your community. All other members of your community will see it appear on their phones. They can "Claim" this task, or confirm that they are available to help. Finally, you, the owner, of the Request can accept which individual they'd like to connect with on the task.

How I built it

The app is built for the Android platform and communicates with a RESTful API built in Python's flask micro framework. The database involved is MySQL and everything is hosted on a Linode instance running Ubuntu 15.04.

Challenges I ran into

We set off with an incredibly ambitious goal - create a native iOS app (Swift), native Android app and Web app that all talk to a backend API. For 3 of us, this was a challenge we would not end up meeting, but the experience of striving towards it was nothing short of exciting! Along with 100% completion on the Android app, we completed about 50% of the iOS app and 20% of the Web app.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

We're proud of the fact that this application involved a heightened level of complexity as far as data management and interaction is concerned. It is one that we hadn't faced in recent hackathons, so it was exciting to tackle.

What I learned

Every team member learned a lot during this project. Varun served as a team lead and mentor, and built the Android app which involves more complexity than his past projects. The RESTful API that Jay built is the most robust he's ever built, including one he worked on over the course of a couple weeks during the summer. And Joe took a crash course in Web Development, learning concepts such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript - no easy task.

What's next for CommunityHelps

One of the great things about data generation is data analysis. The future of such a product, dubbed "the Uber of Tasks" by many mentors thus far this weekend, could include the aggregation and analysis of the major problems specific communities face, giving micro- and macro-level governments incredible insight into what can be done to help the average citizen. A public-facing API with generated data would be incredible.

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