The inspiration for Roomo came when my older brother's friends were going off to big universities and didn't have roommates planned out. To find roommates, they generally looked through facebook groups, set up calls, or put themselves into some type of lottery. This process seemed liked it could be drastically improved, and I thought there should be a way for people to easily find and connect with college roommates based on common interests and preferences.

What it does

Roomo is a website that enables people to first register a profile in which they list their roommate preferences, gender, university, personal description, as well as post a gallery of images. These users are then put grouped in the Roomo system based on these traits and have access to the profiles of other Roomo users in their university. They can then like or dismiss the profiles of other prospective roommates, and then when two people mutually like each others profiles a match is made. People then have the ability to message these matches directly through Roomo to connect with them. While not yet implemented, Roomo will have an algorithm that best matches people based on their preferences rather than just generating based on simple filtering. Roomo acts as the most efficient tool to find roommates in university.

How I built it

To build Roomo, along with my teammate Michael Xing, I utilized the Django Rest Framework to develop the backend api for the site, the React javascript library for the frontend, and a simple SQLite database. I chose these tools because I have had experience using React and Django together before, and thus I thought that I could be most effective in this hackathon environment. The React frontend makes calls to the API to display and manipulate data for the user. Using React streamlines the development process, which enabled Roomo to be developed.

Challenges I ran into

Throughout the development process, a key concept that proposed a challenge was being able to create the like, dismiss, match system. This required a development of a follow system as well as fairly significant logic to ensure that everything worked properly. I had to go through many iterations of this process to get it to a point that I was satisfied with.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

As this was my first experience with a hackathon, I am proud of having completed a piece of workable software, that was fairly substantial, in such a short timeframe. While I have built more complex and larger sites before, those took exponentially longer, and I feel that this process forced me to constantly think creatively about how to optimize each step of the process to produce a product that I was satisfied with. Additionally, the idea for Roomo is one that I have wanted to develop for a while, and so being able to see it work was certainly a moment of pride for me.

What I learned

Throughout this process, I definitely learned a lot about team work, and the creative process as whole. In such a short time window, working with a team member requires constant communication and collaboration. The rate at which code has to be looked at and features have to be added was far greater than I was used to, which I believe helped me to increase my efficiency of communication as well as productivity as part of a team especially in a coding environment. Furthermore, coming up with the idea from scratch to a workable product required constant brainstorming and iterating which definitely helped me to become a quicker creative thinker and clearer decision maker.

What's next for Roomo

In the future, I hope to develop Roomo as a mobile application as I think that that would be the ideal format for the product. Furthermore, I hope to develop the roommate matching algorithm as well as to improve the user interface.

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