I love to travel and everywhere I go I always like to save every restaurant/coffee shop/bar/tourist attraction that I've been to. The way I've always done it is to just jot it down in my notes app. Whenever a friend who's planning a trip to a city I've been to asks me for recommendations, I scroll through my Notes to find the best spots for them. The problem is that my Notes are just names of the places I've been to, there's no metadata and no pictures so sometimes it's hard to remember what it was like. It's also just one entire list, no categories and no organization; it would be nice to sort them by trips.
What it does
This app replicates the functionality of my Notes app but goes above and beyond. It ties into the Google Places API to give metadata, images, and directions. The app also automatically categorizes each place so it's easy to sort through. There's also a functionality to create individual trips for a particular city where you can add individual locations to each trip; this allows you to replicate the exact itinerary of the trip you've taken. We've also built in sharing functionality into the trips feature so you can share it with friends and they can replicate your exact same trip!
How we built it
The front-end utilizes React with some help from Redux, React Router, Lottie, and MD Bootstrap. The back-end uses Express.js to call external APIs such as Google Places, Firebase and Firestore. The entire application is hosted on Heroku.
Challenges we ran into
- The initial implementation of the app was not efficient in calling external APIs which led to drastically increased cost due to API calls.
- The quirks of mobile browsers when utilizing the '100vh' CSS property led to some odd visual characteristics.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- The general look and feel of the app is playful yet functional with lots of visual candy and imagery.
- The app fulfills a singular purpose which makes it fast and easy to use.
- The app automatically categorizes Pinmarks by city and by location type; all the user has to do is add a specific place to their profile.
- The sharing trips feature is something we feel is unique and is the fastest way to share recommendations with friends.
What we learned
- It's important to plan the structure of the app ahead of time to prevent recycle and minimize code bloat.
- Be strategic and efficient when calling external APIs as they can easily add up in cost.
What's next for Pinmark App
- Refine the UI to make it more intuitive
- Add functionality to search profiles of different users so you can check out their entire list of Pinmarks.
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