With virtual school and no in-person events due to COVID-19, it has become extremely hard to make friends, especially if you want to make study buddies in class or meet potential lab partners.

So, we decided to create Hubble, where users can choose to connect with other users and be friends :) We have our own custom algorithm that lets users know whether the person they are swiping on would be a good match based on their interests or courses they are taking!

How We Built It

Hubble was built with Swift to create an intuitive and user-friendly iOS application. The data retrieved from users is stored in Cloud Firestore. Our custom matching algorithm was implemented in Node.js. The matching algorithm calls upon Google's Natural Language Processing (NLP) API to parse the user inputted data. This data is then compared against all other matches, updating live whenever the application is launched.

Challenges We Ran Into

As a team we are proud of many of the achievements that we were able to make during these 24 hours. We each went outside of our comfort zones and utilized new tools. With very little experience in the roles we chose we pushed ourselves to learn and apply our knowledge in real time and were able to create an ios app that we would use even outside of this hackathon. Our team had to overcome hurdles around the integration of different areas of our code, especially connecting the Firebase database to both our frontend and backend. We attempted to create our matching algorithm using Cloud Functions for Firebase separately from our frontend which was created with Swift. This led to challenges when deploying the code. By quickly researching and switching over to Express we were able to overcome this hurdle and learn a new skill. We were able to come out of this hackathon more confident about our skills and are able to have something to show for all our hard work in this time.

Accomplishments That We're Proud Of

Our team is very proud of our work not only for what it stood for in terms of helping others but also with our own personal milestones. We were all able to step out of our comfort zone and develop an entirely new toolkit during this event as we came out knowing so much more than we came in not only for using new tools but also concepts such as user authentication and the use of databases.

What We Learned

While building Hubble, we learned a lot about ios development, Swift, API calls, databases, Javascript, and how all these components integrate together. We were able to connect all these pieces scattered around and tie all the concepts up into one package which we all found to be incredibly satisfying to see all our hard work come together in the end. Our team was surprised at how seamlessly and accurately Google's NLP categorized free text, and will definitely be leaning upon that heavily in future projects. 

What's Next For Hubble

Hubble's mission boils down to creating connections. In the future we hope to create a more inclusive environment, allowing users to meet and connect with many more individuals. There are many features we wanted to bring to Hubble to make it a more inclusive and accessible environment, and we hope to see them happen soon. We plan to implement features for students with disabilities, student parents and mature students to invisibly indicate these traits in their profile, and link them up with similar users. Even pre-COVID, we had been hearing from this user group that identifying others like them was challenging and they would appreciate the community support.

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