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As high school students, we do not have an unlimited budget when shopping, meaning that we have to be smart with our money. That means we are constantly looking for the best deals online. Although there are some websites online that give deals for certain sites, it is insufficient to only have such a limited range of retailers to consider deals from. This is why we were inspired to make our own websites that not only finds the best deals but also has a user-friendly UI.

What it does

Dealight looks for the best deal for the specific product you request. If you are looking for something more general (e.g. Earbuds), we will have an algorithm that will take into account both price and review.

How we built it

Dealight was designed in Adobe Dreamweaver using Bootstrap and therefore is responsive and looks great. We developed our item finding system using the Google Custom Search API with a custom search engine built to work with our handpicked retailers and parse/display our data using Javascript. We also use Javascript to extract price information from the items we search for, although this is quite unstable as certain websites are incompatible with our data extraction method.

Challenges we ran into

During the hackathon, we ran into many challenges that greatly hindered our ability to continue the project. We had multiple hours where we were stuck confused and completely unproductive. Some of these problems include how to access a proper API that is able to search, problems parsing the requested JSON, obtaining the correct price from the product, and ultimately getting started off the ground. In the beginning, we were in a slump where we had no idea where to go from a blank state. But after persevering and continuing through trial and error, we were finally able to obtain our end product. We still ran into problems parsing the price of items from certain retailers which was nearly impossible to fix and made it so we couldn't implement our deal sorting algorithm, but this could easily be fixed later with a better API as we built an easily extensible platform.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

The website is able to search from multiple online retailers(10+), accurately return the name, image, link, and price of the product (sometimes), and has a beautiful yet minimalistic design. The site is also very extensible and we can easily build upon it later, adding more functionality and optimizing existing features.

What we learned

We looked for simple solutions to complicated problems in this project due to the constraints put upon us by our website hosting solution which made it difficult to achieve the functionality we wanted. We have learned that in the future it would be valuable to spend time on complex issues and deal with them properly rather than trying to strap together a solution using simpler means.

What's next for Dealight

Nine is Fine That's the motto we've been living by with our current number of results on each page. However, in the future, we would like to possibly make it easier to expand the number of results on the page by making the card displays as a function that could easily be altered and changed by the user. In addition to this, we feel that with a different API or data extraction method we could easily implement full price extraction and our deal sorting algorithm to fully deliver the vision promised by our application. Finally, we think that filters should be added (e.g. Ratings, Price Range, Colors, Specific Specs, and much more) so that the user can adequately refine their search to something they want.

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