Inspiration

With the opioid crisis being in the news so much lately, we decided we would make an app to try to help those affected.

What it does

NeedleXchange allows organizers to create needle exchange events. Drug users, or their friends and relatives, can search for the nearest needle exchange by zip code or address. They can also anonymously subscribe by simply entering their email address or phone number (this will allow them to get alerts when a new event is created in their area).

How we built it

The frontend was built using traditional web technologies like html, css, javascript and bootstrap. We used languages/libraries to create a one page application that was optimized for user experience. To make the one page app possible we used AJAX calls to a sever running Flask that handled the client's http requests. The Flask framework allowed us to send emails and calculate geographic distance.

Challenges we ran into

All three of us came to the hackathon with a different set skills. While we were all familiar with web technologies, we were familiar with different parts of the stack. We overcame this by talking with sponsors and each other in order to plan the best tech stack for our development team. This allowed us to distribute work evenly and kept everyone busy. Integration was difficult, but we all stayed positive and worked through our problems/bugs calmly.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud that we were able to successfully complete the project. The three of us were strangers before the hackathon, so it was a of of fun getting to know each other while designing and developing a web application. We are very happy that are app is fully functional and user friendly.

What we learned

Some of the things we learned are the Google Maps API, AJAX, and how to send automated emails from a server. We also spent a lot of time focused on user experience, an area that is still new to all three of us.

What's next for NeedleXchange

In terms of tech improvements, we would have liked to deploy the site to a cloud server and set up the automated texting service, as an alternative to email. Still, the app is functional right now, so we'd like to present it to some of the experts in drug addiction to get feedback. Hackathons often lack the professional feedback necessary for successful apps, so it would be a mistake not to get industry help before future development.

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