Inspiration

Picture this, I was all ready to go to Yale and just hack away. I wanted to hack without any worry. I wanted to come home after hacking and feel that I had accomplished a functional app that I could see people using. I was not sure if I wanted to team up with anyone, but I signed up to be placed on a UMD team. Unfortunately none of the team members wanted to group up, so I developed this application alone.

I volunteered at Technica last week and saw that chaos that is team formation and I saw the team formation at YHack. I think there is a lot of room for team formation to be more fleshed out, so that is what I set out on trying to fix. I wanted to build an app that could make team building at hackathons efficiently.

What it does

Easily set up "Event rooms" for hackathons, allowing users to join the room, specify their interests, and message other participants that are LFT (looking for team). Once they have formed a team, they can easily get out of the chatroom simply by holding their name down and POOF, no longer LFT!

How I built it

I built a Firebase server that stores a database of events. Events hold information obviously regarding the event as well as a collection of all members that are LFT. After getting acquainted with Firebase, I just took the application piece by piece. First order of business was adding an event, and then displaying all events, and then getting an individual event, adding a user, deleting a user, viewing all users and then beautifying with lots of animations and proper Material design.

Challenges I ran into

Android Animation still seems to be much more complex than it needs to be, so that was a challenge and a half. I want my applications to flow, but the meticulousness of Android and its fragmentation problems can cause a brain ache.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

In general, I am very proud with the state of the app. I think it serves a very nifty core purpose that can be utilized in the future. Additionally, I am proud of the application's simplicity. I think I set out on a really solid and feasible goal for this weekend that I was able to accomplish.

I really enjoyed the fact that I was able to think about my project, plan ahead, implement piece by piece, go back and rewrite, etc until I had a fully functional app. This project helped me realize that I am a strong developer.

What I learned

Do not be afraid to erase code that I already wrote. If it's broken and I have lots of spaghetti code, it's much better to try and take a step back, rethink the problem, and then attempt to fix the issues and move forward.

What's next for Squad Up

I hope to continue to update the project as well as provide more functionalities. I'm currently trying to get a published .apk on my Namecheap domain (squadupwith.me), but I'm not sure how long this DNS propagation will take. Also, I currently have the .apk to only work for Android 7.1.1, so I will have to go back and add backwards compatibility for the android users who are not on the glorious nexus experience.

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