Even though we live in the digital era, many individuals have little or no access to the internet. It becomes difficult to catch up with the fast changing world. We want to help those individuals be part of the growing community with the resources available to them.
What it does, and how is it done.
A client sends a message to our Twilio number with keywords such as event:santa cruz:gathering. Twilio then sends a post or a get request to our Tomcat server. Our server receives the client request through the Twilio API then start queuing the request into our Python application. Our Python application utilizes a natural language processing library, NLTK, in order to map client input to categories, therefore the client can be as vague or specific as they wish. The Python application will assist in finding the intended category. This information is passed onto the Eventbrite API to search for events within the client's specified city and category. With the search results, we feed it back to the Twilio server for it to be sent to our client. The whole process does not require the client to have internet access at any point.
Challenges we ran into
We had to learn the Twilio API and Eventbrite API in a very short amount of time to make this project work. Different components of our projects are written in different programming languages, therefore getting them to communicate with each other was a task. Getting stuck is not an option because time does not wait for us. Thanks to Google's all knowing search engine, we figured out all the solutions to the problems we encountered along the way of development.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were able to make a working version of the application we envisioned. Clients do not need access to the internet to receive real-time event information from us through SMS text messaging. We are proud of being able to integrate our components given our different backgrounds.
What we learned
We have learned having a clear goal and determination, we can accomplish works beyond our expectations. Although it was a two day project, we gave it all we had and finished gracefully.
What's next for eventme
There are many possible paths for expansions. For example, we can allow the users to do Google searches through text messaging. The magic all happens in our back-end server. You no longer need the internet to connect to the world.