As a college student, moving in and moving out is always a very painful process. I have to purchase a lot of things such as table, chairs, kitchen supplies, and many other things. They cost a lot of money and at the end of every year, I will have to sell or get rid of them to move out. Most of those items are still usable or just like new. It is really wasteful to throw them away. For that reason, I built a shopping app to help me and everyone who has the same problem, and I called the app, Exchange. It provides flexibility in shopping which allow users to buy or sell their items in many different ways, not just about money.

What it does

As a seller in Exchange, you can post your item and get discovered within minutes. You can post up to four pictures of your item(s), describe your item(s), set your wishlist, and simply click "Post Item". In addition, you can easily manage your store using the app. What is unique about this app is that since you only specify a wishlist of things you want in exchange, you will receive many different offers. Not just the thing you are looking for, but also a larger number of items you might love from other people.

As a buyer, you can browse thousand of different items on the market. You won't have to worry about money anymore since you can always send a request that you can afford. You can use your items in exchange for the things you love on the market and simple send the request to be reviewed by the seller.

How I built it

I built this app using Swift as my core programming language. The database of this app is built using Firebase Database. User can also login into the app using their Facebook account or Google account. I implemented the login process using Facebook Login API and Google Login API. The app has to handle a large amount of images from users and images are usually very large so it is very crucial to handle those images correctly. So, I was able to resize all images, store them properly on Firebase Storage, and still provide a smooth UI for user. The app also has the latest design for viewing items using a customize image slider. Finally, the app handles many different edge cases during the exchange process between users.

Challenges I ran into

In the last few months, it was tough at first learning new iOS concepts. Not just that, I had to learn new technologies/tools such as XCode and Firebase that I have never used before. Finally, UI/UX design was a very big challenge because I only had experience dealing with the backend, but not the front-end.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I am able to create a very polish app with a beautiful and neat UI in a very short amount of time. Comparing all of MVP features in my app with other shopping app such as Letgo or Etsy on the App Store, there is not much of a different so I am very proud with the result. The app is still under review, but I am very positive that it will be available on App Store soon.

What I learned

Facing a lot of challenges during the phase of making this app also helps me to learn a lot of new things.

  • Improve my problem solving skills by solving a lot of real world problem as well as technical challenges
  • Manage my time better because the time to get the MVP done and publish on the App Store is one month
  • Be able to utilize all concepts and technologies that I've learned during two months at Make School

What's next for Exchange - Trade Yours For Theirs

I will implement push notification for my app. Also, provide more functionalities for user to manage their store better. Giving user the option to delete and organize their requests. Finally, I want to make this app popular in my college by showing the students the benefits of this app and how it helps them solve the money problem.

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