If you prefer slides and a video demo and the video above hasn't processed, check out Hackabull2021 Speed Friender Demo and our Slide Deck

If you prefer a full video (project rundown going through slides and demo) and the video above hasn't processed, this is our sped-up video (5:00) where we sound like chipmunks! Sorry, we're slow talkers.

Courier

We're thankful to have met the Courier reps this weekend as they were great sponsors who took the time to guide us and help us learn how to fully utilize Courier's compatibility in the context of our project!

We used Lists to notify all members of the Speed Friender community as well as sending Discord, SMS, and email notifications, using Discord.js, Twilio, and Postmark. The integrations were easy and smooth!

CockroachDB

CockroachDB was a great service to work with so we could set up an easy to use database that hosts our names, discord id, phone number, and email! The fourth slide is an example of our starter member table in the terminal and the third slide is a screenshot of our cluster. Our database has so much potential that our table didn't even use a full percent of the storage!

This was hosted on Google Cloud!


Inspiration

Since the pandemic, spontaneous connection has dramatically decreased. No chances for talking in the coffee line or saying hi to the classmate next to you.

At our university, we noticed that new students were having trouble connecting with other students even after joining a new club because a lack of consistent interaction, We created Speed Friender for groups that want more opportunities to meet others on a regular basis.

This idea came from our social events where we cycled members so they could chat with a new person for two minutes to get to know more people. This software allows us to work with members who may not be able to attend our events or video chat.

What it does

  1. Sets up a category to host random connections with members of a community
  2. Each pair gets their own text and voice channel to communicate privately
  3. Uses Courier to reach out via Discord, phone, or email

How we built it

Courier - Used to give notifications to let people know that a match has been made through discord, sms, or email. Check out the second photo in our media gallery for a screenshot of the relevant Courier code

CockroachDB - Used to store rotating icebreaker questions and members’ information. Used Google Cloud to host the cluster.

Discord.js - Used to build the Discord bot to allow for a intuitive user interface

Node.js + Express.js - Used to connect the bot with other technologies to create a well-rounded product

Challenges we ran into

Without Postmark verification, we can’t send emails outside of our domain. Thankfully, verification will occur after the weekend is over!

Connecting to the different tech stacks with Discord.js, Node.js, and Express.js was definitely difficult, but Thanks, Courier reps! for helping us debug!

Without Twilio upgraded, we need to verify numbers before they can get notifications. We'd love to get funding to upgrade Twilio so SMS notifications is more streamlined on the Twilio side and doesn't give the trial disclaimer for each text.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

Courier List - We created a list that stores user data (including contact information) to send notifications via Courier according to the user’s preferred service!

Discord Bot - We setup our first functional discord bot using Discord.js!

Made New Friends! - We had fun listening to music, practicing at workshops and working with the Courier sponsors to get our bot up!

What we learned

This was our first time using Courier, making a bot with Discord.js, Express.js, or CockroachDB. We also learned how to work with free trials for Twilio, Postmark, and CockroachDB to create a functional project in less than 24 hours!

What's next for Speed Friending

Further Courier Integration

We’d love to connect a mobile app with push notifications, integrate WhatsApp notifications for our international users, and use Courier user data to find the best way to connect with our users

Recurring Matches

We’d love to have matches set up so it creates new matches every day/week/month, up to the admin’s discretion.

Tried and True Algorithm

With more time, we’d love to experiment with different algorithms that take into account different self-reported information to best match users.

Putting It Into Practice

Danielle and Mara are co-founders of Girls Who Code at UVA, working to foster connections between young women in tech and would love to implement this bot in their organization.

FAQ

Who are you?

Danielle Zevitz and Mara Hart are both Computer Science majors at the University of Virginia who love coming to hackathons to expand our coding skills outside of the classroom!

What was your favorite part of the weekend?

The Courier workshop to learn how to set up a Discord bot with your Twitch subscriptions was a great learning opportunity. Throughout this whole weekend, we had a chance to chat with different Courier reps to debug, demo, and discuss our project idea. We appreciate all the help from the Courier reps and honestly, this is why we come to hackathons and can't wait to work with Courier in the future!

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