With social interactions limited, quarantine has caused many people to be bored and even frustrated, us included. Imagine getting into your dream school, only for it to send you back home one week in. So how do we fix this? We believe that Pearpeers will create a safe-environment for this lost opportunity to make friends and regain our once lost social life due to COVID-19.
What it does
We are able to securely pair (‘pear’) people with similar interests to stimulate fun conversations and find a potential friend to meet up with after quarantine. We also implemented fun little features such as collaborative drawing, etc. to relieve some of the boredom that comes with traditional messaging/social media apps.
How we built it
We built the front end with HTML5 and CSS for the main website frame and UI. We used JQuery for more functional parts like the searching, profile, and chat listing features. More importantly, we used it to connect to a Google Firebase to enable Talk.JS as well as our collaborative drawing canvas. The website is served on a Kubernetes cluster running Docker containers using the Google Cloud Platform. The website itself is linked with a Domain.com DNS.
Challenges we ran into
Establishing the drawing, chat, and other high-level back-end functions of Pearpeers. One major problem we had was the free tier Firebase quotas since we were transmitting large amounts of information, especially for the drawing board. We worked particularly hard to streamline the number of reads and writes to Firebase in order to solve these problems.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We made a user finding system that can find other relevant users based on your personal interests. We are also proud of making fully functional chat rooms and collaborative drawing rooms for users. We also deployed the webapp using a Kubernetes cluster and Docker, allowing easy scalability and makes sure that the site never goes down.
What we learned
We learned how to use new technologies such as Google Kubernetes Engine and Firebase. We also learned how to use the Talk.JS API for creating chat environments.
What's next for PearPeers - HackNC 2020
The web app has room for much more improvement. The drawing interface can be improved to provide more tools and features for users to play with. Pearpeers can also develop a more advanced peer finding system using location/regional information as well as other data to help users find more friends that are relevant to them. As the app was deployed on a Kubernetes cluster, it can easily be scaled up and serve many more users and features.