Often times, our phones “blow up” with notifications from last-minute messaging before an event or meeting. It’s difficult, especially for the organizer, to keep track of who is running late or may have to cancel last-minute. We wanted to create an event-planning app that would help avoid this hassle. The original idea actually sprouted from one of our teammates when he was running late for his meeting and he did not want to message the entire club.

What it does

pointME allows users to create an event, and upon doing so, this creates an appointment where the user can chat with other event attendees, share files, and get directions to the event location. Each appointment also has a shareable link that is used to invite others to the event through Facebook. Most importantly, the appointment shows the location of the attendees via geolocation prior to the event, allowing easy visualization of who will be able to make it to the appointment on time, which the organizer and others can see to avoid hectic group messaging.

How we built it

The basic skeleton of this application is built around phonoegap. For the front-end, we used html, css for the display, and javascript/jquery to make the app more responsive. To handle the back-end, we explored a JSON-based database called Firebase, which uses AngularJS. Most of the native-app-plugins were installed using cordova, and we implemented different API's from google and firebase to polish our application. We initially thought about handling the back-end using PHP and MySQL through ajax queries in javacscript, we figured that it would be too complicated since cordova doesn't support PHP. We developed locally using MAMP, which is a local apache server provider. It was a fun project!

Challenges we ran into

The biggest challenge for our team is learning the complex world of web-app development. Three of the four group members on our team have only meddled with html enough to print out "Hello World!", let alone css, cordova, onsen, firebase, and angular js. It is safe to assume that the team spent 70% of the Hackathon learning the syntax and nature of each language. On top of which, many features we wanted to implement required heavy use of online APIs. I think at this point, every one of us feel like we've read textbooks worth of documentations.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We’re extremely proud of all the features we were able to implement, even with our limited experience in web-app development. These include Facebook login, Facebook sharing, group chatting, and geolocation.

What we learned

Oh man, where do I begin? As mentioned before, the team members have definitely developed a much more indepth understanding of web-app development. From front end coding to UI organization to collecting back end data. We feel like we grasped a much better idea of this industry, gained a ton of respect for others and are very inspired to continue to work in this genre. I think the most valuable lesson we learned is just how effective a team can be when everyone is easy going and works diligently on their task.

What's next for pointME

Stress aside, we all really enjoyed coding pointME. The project started off as an off hand idea and evolved into something we are all very proud to present. Of course, we will continue to upgrade and refine the app. We have many more functions such as car-pooling, estimation time to destination, and having every event placed neatly in a calendar. Until it is ready enough for us to seriously consider the business side of it. Our goal is to release/sell the app early 2017.

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