Ever gotten the feeling that you're left out of a conversation just because you just don't have enough background information? So have we. Recently, major events have shocked the world, leaving people confused and wanting to be informed at the topic at hand: but what exactly should people look out for? How can people search for something when they don't know where to begin?

What it does

In Brief scrapes the internet looking for the most relevant pieces of information to help a user dive right into any conversation, whether it be about recent news, or just a topic in general. We grab descriptions from Wikipedia, the most current tweets on Twitter that mention the topic, recent news articles from Alchemy, and even the general sentiment on whether or not the public views a particular topic in a positive or negative light.

How I built it

In Brief was built with Javascript on top of Python with Flask. Our team learned a lot with this new framework, while still relying on standard web development tools such as Bootstrap, Flexbox, Material Design Lite, and jQuery (for front-end), and BeautifulSoup with other tools for back-end development.

Challenges I ran into

Design was a major challenge of this process. We wanted to focus on getting the best project possible, and not just the best implementation possible. It took a lot of time and energy in defining exactly what we wanted and streamlining functionality to suit the user's need. Also, data and API availability was a huge problem: we had a goal in mind and the knowledge to do so, but the resources simply weren't there.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

At the end of the day, this was a huge accomplishment. Instead of hooking up to the usual one API, our team grabbed data from three APIs, really bringing the concept of "data accumulation" home.

What I learned

Really search hard for those resources such that your project has the most reach possible.

What's next for InBrief

Think about this: a lot of news applications can curate what the conversation is about, but a conversation can't exist without people. A large step forward would be linking InBrief to social media to see exactly who in your friend group is interested in a certain topic, so you can be certain there's something to talk about the next time you two meet up.

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