We started by asking ourselves what problems we deal with that we have no control over. We listed it on a google document and went through each one. We picked something we all dealt with, as it personally affected as all. This application became our solution.
What it does
It systematically redirects customer and citizen complaints to appropriate officials who can solve their problems. It works by allowing lower-ranking officials to redirect complaints to higher-ranking ones when they are not capable enough in their position. It cuts down bureaucratic inefficiencies in large organizations, while also building trust and accountability with consumers and citizens.
How we built it
We used Meteor.js to build a suitable backend that would perform business logic; then we used the Blaze templating engine to render webpages with relevant data in real time as it was processed by Meteor.js. We used MongoDB to store user and complaint information.
Challenges we ran into
From the front end point of view, we spend a ridiculous and absurd amount of time on adding particles.js to our website. It took us 3 hours, and the solution honestly doesn't even make sense to us. But it works and we got through it as a team! From the backend point of view, we needed a good way to organize all the data and make it available to the right people. On top of that, there was an error with MongoDB as it would wipe the entire collection of documents it received. As for general problems, we faced version control as a team. Some of us would be on a different versions of the same document, which would prove to be difficult to correct later on, as it's difficult to tell which pieces of code should take precedence. Lastly, Sleep deprivation was a major problem for all of us, but with the power of redbull and really loud music, we were able to pull through and finish up our project.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We're all proud of having the courage to work with each other. Friday morning, no one knew anyone, and by friday night we were brainstorming, trying to take PennApps by storm. We're surprised and proud to also say that all of us were awake for 48 hours straight, working to make our product the best it could be. We're proud to also say that not only will our application be on web, it will be on IOS and Android! On top of that, we created a trailer video for our product. We created a gorgeous website with an amazing backend. We stayed motivated, positive, and kept pushing ourselves beyond the limits. Lastly, we would like to mention, we're all high school students and we have a begginer (to the hackathon culture) on our team. That being said, we still made a fully functional product that is cross platform.
What we learned
We learned various skills, things like meteor.js were unheard of before we started this project and as of typing this, half of us are almost fluent in it. We also learned how to represent trees in MongoDB. We learned that amazing things can happen if you set your mind on it. We also learned to bring a sweater to our next hackathon, because it gets extremely cold when night falls.
What's next for Shute
Although with moments of doubt and almost catching hyperthermia, we decided that if we were to win or lose at PennApps, we would continue to work on this. If a project like this can win even a small category at a large event like this, that means it has potential. We will keep going with this idea and make it amazing. If we do decide to keep moving forward, we would like to add features such as better scalability that would be adapted to wider audiences and applications. We would also like to pay attention to our design, as we believe design is a major component in a successful product.