Our team was looking for a web application that could benefit the world and be a cause of social good. We knew that there are many Americans who "declutter" and clear away items that they no longer need by throwing them away, despite many of those items being recyclable. Simultaneously, there are many low-income or homeless Americans who can not find the items that they require through interpersonal means and can not use sites like Depop or Craiglist because they require a credit card or a purchase of some sort. This is where out idea for a free item swap application arose.
What It Does
Swap Tomorrow creates an easy, free, and seamless route to donation, item swapping, or item retrieval. After signing up and creating a free account, users can choose to either create a new listing for items that they wish to give away or donate to others, or create a listing request to ask for an item to be donated by a user who many have the item already. You can also search through listings to find the listing that you may need.
How We Built It
Challenges I Ran Into
Initially, we had some trouble narrowing down the idea and niche we wanted to pursue. Social Good is a very broad topic, but our mentors helped us pinpoint a demographic or cause to pursue. A technical issue we faced was deciding on a single back-end framework to use and build the app in. Our team had different backgrounds, including Node.js and Ruby on Rails, but we decided to use Rails, a simpler development framework. Workflow within a team of 3 coders was also a new struggle; commits and deploys had to be planned and handled.
Accomplishments That We're Proud Of
An accomplishment we're most proud of is the development of a simple idea into a potential long-term project that may socially benefit many communities within the country. The world is need of a free donation program that is accessible through the Internet, as our world is changing very rapidly and we must accommodate those who can not traverse traditional donation routes.
What I Learned
We learned a lot about workflow, back-end development frameworks, and a LOT about Amazon Web Services from a helpful WHACK mentor.
What's Next for Swap Tomorrow
Swap Tomorrow could reach new heights once we implement advanced technical features such as automatic location services so that a user's homepage items could only show those items that are within their location radius, web/phone connectivity that will allow users to use ST on both the web and on their iOS/Android phones (many low-income Americans own a mobile phone and use that, not a desktop computer, as their primary web access), and a "Quick List" function that allows users to create listing by taking a picture of an object that automatically becomes uploaded to the database.