Social distancing from COVID19 has caused family, friends and businesses to maintain their relationships digitally. Not everyone has social media but almost everyone with a phone has the ability to text message. A text has the power to immediately make all people feel more connected and less isolated. This app, “Keep in Touch,” does this by sending popular or personal content via individual texts to anyone in your contacts.

What it does

Allows you to share content via texts to your contacts individually (not everyone has social media!) This helps people stay in touch with each other and helps people not feel isolated in these strange times. You can share popular content (text/images) using a public ranking system or just send private messages.

How I built it

I used Android Studio (Java) and use Firebase for authentication and real-time datastorage. Picasso loads all images from content submissions into view.

Challenges I ran into

Changing the rules in Firebase so that authenticated users can post to the cloud, having an outdated version of android studio (using appcompat-v7 instead of androidx), figuring out the most practical way to code so that it is structured and scalable, using content providers/cursors to import phone contact data.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The project flows from phase1 > phase2 > phase3; it's super organized (checkout the Github to see how the classes are all organized!). I added working authentication and updated posts in the app in realtime using Firebase. I also feel the UI design looks good; I used cardviews and configured the firebase login widget to use custom vector assets. Making this app as a single team member and following it to completion. Even though I had two nights of very low sleep I pushed through!

What I learned

Using content providers/cursors to import phone contact data. I also learned to use androidx instead of appcompat-v7. I made this entire app in under 36 hours therefore I was on a time crunch with little sleep; I learned to sit back before coding and sketch everything out beforehand.

What's next for Keep in Touch

Currently the app will display images to be shared but cannot send MMS yet, only SMS. This will be the next functionality. Also, in addition to just having phone contacts available to send to in the app, i'd like to also import contacts from other social media. The "ranking" system for how popular content is listed is not functional yet; right now its scores are hardcoded, but eventually content will be ranked according to how many times people have shared it. Lastly, I'd like to try to get people to use the app!

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