Our inspiration comes from realizing there might be an easy solution to a problem that we face constantly when eating out. We know apps like Yelp or Zomato exist primarily to help decide which restaurant/food place to eat at. However, once we pick a place and actually arrive there, the troubles are still not over yet. Now there is a daunting menu with many different options. But how do we pick what to eat solely based off of just the names of the dishes? That's where we found a need for Menyu, an app to easily help one choose a dish once they have already arrived at the particular restaurant.
What it does
Menyu is an app that allows users to read and write reviews of individual dishes based on the restaurant he/she is at. These reviews come from other users who have also visited that restaurant and ordered the specific dish. So how it works is that when the app opens, it tracks your current location, giving you some options of food places close to you at the moment for you to indicate where you are exactly. Once selected the location, it continues to a screen of dishes/food items of that restaurant. The items that are shown are ones that have been added into the system and reviewed by other users. So here, if you would be the first person to review a specific dish, you could add it to the system. Then, after clicking on a specific dish, which shows its ratings and number of reviews, it brings you to a page of the reviews of that dish. Here you can read through reviews to give you a better idea of the dish, and also you can write your own review on that dish.
How we built it
We built this Android app through Android Studio, using Java and XML files. We used Google Places API for our location tracking as that allowed us to get the specific restaurant that the user is currently at. As for storing the names, dishes, reviews, ratings, and several other fields, we used an SQLite database and hooked that up to our app.
Challenges we ran into
Our main challenges involved the parts we weren't very familiar with, which was almost all of it. It took us a while to fully grasp the idea of the way activities work and how to work them together. Also for the Google API, we got stuck figuring out how to use it the way we needed but after a lot of research/testing around with it, we were able to break through.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Each of us on the team had some breakthroughs were were all proud of. One was in using custom array adapter to implement the UI of our activities. Another was the breakthrough with the API and utilizing the different parts to get the specific restaurant location tracking we needed. We also had a member figure out how to have parallel threads running in the app which gave us a lot more capabilities. And finally, the putting together of a database that works directly with our app was something we were proud of.
What we learned
As this is the first time any of us in the team has actually made an Android application, this entire process was filled with learning. From Android development and all the intricacies behind it to the use of API to building the database, we learned through every step of this process.
What's next for Menyu
We see Menyu as an app that has actual everyday use. We know like Yelp has something similar where it connects the Yelp reviews which have the dish name in it to the specific dish, but their focus is still on reviewing the restaurant. Menyu, on the other hand, focuses on when you are already in a restaurant and makes it easy/simple to look up dish reviews and leave your own. We've all faced this problem before of not knowing what to order, and we see Menyu as the future to eliminating this problem. Technically wise, there are many features we can continue to add and many things to refine. Things such as UI, account tracking, camera/photo capabilities are all features that could be added in the future.