HoliBot

Superposition II Twilio Text Bot

What it Does:

Sends a random national holiday based on the date you text it!

Text "Hi" to 1(415)212-5236 to try it out!

Inspiration:

Holibot, created at Superposition II, was intended to be a small-scale, fun project that could bring a smile to anyone’s face. (After all, who can’t smile at the idea of an International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day?)

How it Works:

We used the Twilio API and created a Flask app implementing logic to read in data from two text files (one that has all of the dates of weird holidays and one that has all of the weird holidays listed) and create a python dictionary. We then created a method that, given a date, will return the holiday of that date. Finally, utilizing the twilio API, we were able to check if the date texted is a date in our dictionary, respond back with an SMS message of the corresponding holiday!

Challenges We Faced:

Throughout creating Holibot, we ran into a few challenges. First, we came across the issue of only certain dates returned holidays, and not others--this was solved by delving into exactly what was being read into the program, and discovering some technical errors with what Holibot was recognizing the user’s input as. Also, we were running ngrok (as per a tutorial's suggestion) but at around 3am, came to the sad realization that our app would no longer text us back :( At 7am, after getting some sleep and talking to a mentor, we found out that our tunnel had expired and were able to get the app back up and running! Most of our challenges dealt with learning how to use the Twilio API or figuring out python logic bugs but it was a great learning experience!

Accomplishments We're Proud Of:

We're so excited that we have a working app that is fun and easy to use! Though we faced many challenges and at some points throughout the night, our app stopped working, after (very few) hours of sleep, we were able to troubleshoot once again and share out our Twilio number to everyone at Superposition, and even got a few compliments!

What's Next:

In the future, we would love to implement several new features we had ideas for but no time to work on. One of our big ideas was to have our app text you each day with the holiday of the day, instead of you having to text it "Today" to ask. Another thing we would like to do is have the app respond with all of the holidays of that day, as some days have multiple holidays allocated to them. We also want to embellish our text messages with relevant emojis or maybe even pictures relating to that holiday!

Holidays are from this list: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/fun/.

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