We started by thinking about some of the biggest problems humanity was facing due to COVID-19. We had ideas ranging from education to health care; however, we realized that the most important thing we could do, was help people empathize with one another. This led to Covidal: an online story-sharing platform for people all over the world.
What it does
Covidal allows users to read and post stories about their experience with COVID-19. Posts are categorized by cities. These cities are displayed as points on a map and users can use the map feature to choose which city's posts they'd like to read.
How I built it
Challenges I ran into
There was a bit of a learning curve with the mapbox API. We spent some time going through its documentation. The biggest challenge, however, was perhaps designing the website so that it would be simple, easy to navigate, and inviting for people who may be going through a difficult time.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
First off, we’re proud of putting together a functioning website in such a short amount of time. Tying together the backend, with the firebase database and flask framework, to the frontend, with the mailbox api and html/css was a challenge that felt really rewarding to accomplish. Secondly and perhaps more importantly, we’re proud of creating something that can help to connect individuals during this trying pandemic. Our vision when we started this project was to create a cool platform to visualize shared stories. Not only does our website look beautiful, but it’s functionality allows users to do just that. This has been a great experience for all four of us, and we hope you enjoy the website!
What I learned
The team leant how to leverage free resources to create a fully functional web application at no cost. The exciting part was bringing together different frameworks and weaving them in our code to arrive at a seamless integration - the backend is written in python using flask and deployed on heroku. The website data is stored in firebase from which the flask app retrieves data and serves to clients through HTML and CSS.
What's next for Covidal
We'd like to polish up our city categorizing algorithm and create a way for users to add hashtags to their posts. We also want to find a way to create a page that lists posts ranked by "most views" or "most likes." Finally, in order to get the platform really going, we need to get as many people as possible to post stories and share their experiences.