We're a group of university students who were tired of looking through every flyer and figuring out which was cheapest for our list of groceries! We spent all our money on tuition and books already, so every dollar matters. We decided to automate the process and free up more time for school work, while keeping our wallets full.
What it does
The project takes as input user location, and grocery list and then searches major grocery stores for the closest location to the user. It then searches through the local site and records the prices. It would then check other stores, and provide the user the totals from each store for them to choose which is best for them.
How we built it
We used Blue Prism , which is a robotic process automation software. We essentially taught the software how to recognise specific elements of a stores website, and to perform actions in a specific sequential order. We are under NDA and cannot disclose much more than this.
Challenges we ran into
We were unfamiliar with the software and so we struggled with becoming accustomed to it. As it is a proprietary software used by only a few companies, there were not many resources available for the team. It was a very strong learning curve, especially as the software was more CAD-like with a GUI than an actual programming language. We found it very difficult to perform certain tasks that a regular language could perform, like using conditionals. We also had difficulty for the longest time with random compile errors, but eventually were able to discover the source of the error by reading through every setting option.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
It works!!!! We're proud of becoming somewhat proficient in this high demand software, and overcoming all of the challenges we faced along the way. Making something deliverable and functional was our main goal, and so we are happy to have reached it!
What we learned
We learned a lot about how Blue Prism works. We learnt about the idea of optimising and automating processes for mundane tasks that need little human interaction. Our skills with team cooperation also improved, as throughout the event we become more comfortable working in parallel and in tandem to complete the hack.
What's next for gList
Creating a working user interface that launches the Blue Prism code, and allows for editing of the grocery list, and checking of costs. Implementing more grocery stores would be very easy after ironing out all the issues from the first proof of concept. As well, we would store the individual item costs in what is called a collection ( basically an array) that we would then output and allow the user to compare individual prices AND the totals. Perhaps even mentioning which store has the highest percentage total savings from a sale.