Inspiration

Inspired by the ebay ideal of extending commerce globally. Commerce is essentially the purest form of connections between people. Slack is a platform where teams (connected individuals), collaborate together. By designing an app for slack that allows easy access to the ebay, we hope to refine and facillitate organization between teams and commerce done easy for their required materials whatever they may be.

What it does

Users of the app will be able to use a slash command on slack (i.e. /purchasebot keyword) to quickly search on ebay for their keyword. The two most relevant results will be posted using an incoming webhook (another functionality of slack that allows external services to post messages on to slack) and users will be able to click what they want and be redirected to the actual ebay url for that result. Users of the app can also choose what channel their purchasebot posts so that their queries are only visible to themselves, or to their teams as well.

How we built it

Our starting point was for another slash command app that took keywords from the user to search on wikipedia for the top most relevant results and post them on to slack. We modified the code so that name and request urls (where slack waits for a response from) are ours. We used the ebay shopping api explorer to find the urls that would be generated with a keyword search, but as for what we did with them...

Challenges we ran into

The biggest problems we had were not being experienced with the ebay and slack API's which led to us requiring more time to figure how to utilize these tools than we had. Errors we ran into included syntax errors in the app itself which we didn't know how to fix since the they were written in javascipt, an unfamiliar language. Furthermore, all of the resources/tutorials that we had, discussed multiple ways to generate a url to the app we ourselves would create with a logical response, however we were unable to figure how to successfully connect the ebay search services with our slack app. According to the ebay API explorer, there are way too many things that are returned once a request is issued, furthermore they were in xml. We were unable to figure how to issue the data between the two API's and how to convert the xml to json.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Our concept was very solid and had much potential to be used. We had fully fleshed out our idea in our head and were even able to create images of how our app would have functioned. Techinically, we're halfway done as we have figure our how to use the slack API to develop apps. We just need to figure how to connect external services to our slack app. Although ultimately, we were overburdened with the task of learning how to use two completely new APIs we spent lots of time troubleshooting and seeking help.

What we learned

We learned how to use the the Slack API to develop apps in summary. This includes so many things, it would be too long to list (how we have to establish a secure HTTP in w/ localtunnel for our app to access, how we have to run npm every time we change our code, check for the unique verification key every time a call is made to our app, etc.).

What's next for PurchaseBot

Completing the entire design process once we get to be familiar with both APIs. Conceptually, it seems as we understand what our app should do, but we are hindered by a bunch of errors and technicalities that must be accounted for when designing an app.

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