Due to social-distancing, it has become increasingly difficult to safely connect, study, and interact with your fellow students. Mountain Side is our solution to bring back collaboration and social interaction through online study rooms.

What it does

Mountain Side allows UCSB students to create online study rooms similar to those that would have found in the Davidson Library. Students can visit the site to view and join other public study rooms, or bring a group of friends and create their own private room.

How we built it

Mountain Side's front-end was built using React and Javascript (Typescript would have been better, but time did not permit). The back-end services were handled through Firebase/Google and we utilized Cloud Firestore, Firebase Hosting, and Google Cloud's Calendar API.

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge was ran into was integrating our idea with existing online video conferencing platforms. Our two candidates were Zoom and Google Meet. We spent approximately 2 hours digging into Zoom's API until we realized that our student accounts do not have enough access to create a Zoom JWT app. Then, we began researching Google Meet's API only to realize that there is no such thing. Theeen, we realized that this was a hackathon and so it was time to come up with a hack-y solution (which leads into the next section).

Accomplishments that we're proud of

After brainstorming workarounds, we remembered that Google Calendar events can generate Zoom and Google Meet conference links. This led us to look into Google Calendar's API for event creations and it turned out that you could create Google Meet links via API calls.

What we learned

Each team member learned different things such as: more Javascript, how to send HTTP requests, Cloud Firestore, and some Google Calendar API.

What's next for Mountain Side

Mountain Side's potential grows with its user base. Especially in today's world where collaboration is almost always done remotely, the need for social interaction could not be more important. Mountain Side could quickly grow to become a hub for not only student study rooms, but also TA sections, courses, or even just normal hangouts.

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