This project was inspired by the simplicity of use of the Twilio api with the goal in mind to use as many of the services available to us for this hackathon.

What it does

Converge provides an easy to use interface for joining chat rooms with a predetermined room key, creating new rooms that anyone can join, and connecting with new people once the user is in a room. Leaving and reconnecting is just as simple. Enter a couple commands and you’ll be chatting with someone new.

How we built it

Converge was built by first bringing together our combined knowledge of the resources available to us this year. First we had half the team work on the back-end/server side of the application using Amazon’s web services and a Python Flask Server to run twilio’s API. Next, we had the other half of the team learn how to write android programs, attending any and all workshops that would be beneficial for this project. We heavily tested this application so that the service will work even if you are not using the app, with both users on the app or simply texting our twilio number.

Challenges we ran into

One of the largest challenges was building the app itself. Our group had very little Android experience, but we were able to learn and apply knowledge on the fly. The largest issue in development was creating a listener to receive http messages from another phone. Originally, the app would attempt to find a response every time it put a message to the server, not accounting for other people taking time to respond. Once this was in place, everything fell together and the work shifted to touch-ups.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are all very proud of all that we have accomplished, here are some words from our team:

Ivan: What I’m most proud of this hackathon was my experience working with a diverse and multidisciplinary team.

Keaton: I’m glad I got to experience back-end development for the first time, especially with AWS and Twilio.

Brian: I am proud of learning how to develop an Android app and making the app at the same time. It was a challenge, but I learned a ton from this, especially http server communication.

Tim: I was excited to get experience with front end development, specifically with Java and xml. I learned about RecyclerViews - how difficult and how useful they are.

In other words: List_of things_that_makes_us_proud = *this.to_list()

What we learned

We learned from a variety of topics ranging from server development to user experience design, and managed to apply it within a few hours of learning the skills. The majority of us on the team have not had experience working with android apps and so learned how to design and implement most, if not all, of our ideas. We got a handle for http requests and how the world-wide-web works behind the scenes.

What's next for Converge

  • Publishing the app on the Google Play Store
  • More fun features
  • Conversation starters
  • Increasing user database capacity
  • Refining UX and graphics
  • More directed branding
  • Security updates
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