Inspiration

We were inspired by the lack of convenience when it comes to campus students and the various menu options that change every day. It was our mission to streamline this process in a modern way so students could be better informed through a centralized portal what was on the menu, hence our service name: MenuMap!

What it does

Menu Map is a service that updates on a daily basis, parsing a pre-defined list of campus menu domains in order to provide critical menu information to students in a friendly and modern format. We decided to use HERE's Maps API to geographically illustrate the menu options available to students that change on a daily basis for the dining commons. Based on latitude-longitude coordinates, users are able to view their geographical proximity to dining locations (with room for expansion in the future) and their updated menus for the day. The menu data is parsed through Python's LXML toolkit, which is then written to a text file pushed to an online Git. This text file could then be read by our HTML/JS file, comprising the front-end of our website which was able to then leverage HERE's Bubble UI to display that menu information with geographical significance to the user.

How we built it

The process of our project is explained above, but in short:

  1. HTML was parsed into text, then written into a formatted text file
  2. The text file was read by JS, a different programming language
  3. The text data was sorted and outputted leveraging HERE's MAP API

Challenges we ran into

We found it incredibly difficult to integrate the functionalities of both Python and JavaScript. Initially, we tried using Google Cloud's Storage API to transfer text between languages, but Google doesn't seem to support many important functions that were needed to read text from buckets. In addition, formatting data into a text file with the use of markers proved difficult to encode and decode, versus an implementation with JSON for example.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud to have competed in our first every hackathons as freshman and are happy with the progress we've made developmentally and as a team.

What we learned

We learned how to host a website on GitHub, a lot about working and creating/outputting HTML to a live web page, as well as web-development.

What's next for MenuMap

We hope to expand this service to more than just Penn State, and are interested in utilizing Algoria's Search API as an alternative to our conventional map.

git-repos: https://github.com/joshua-yan/menumap-redacted

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