Inspiration

During the pandemic, we see our parents and others having a difficult time striking a balance between work and life. We realized that most of us are getting distracted by clicking to another website or trying to reply to messages that are not related to work during their work time. This causes lots of inefficiency and inconvenience. In order to solve the problem, we came up with an idea to combine gmail and slack together. In that case, people can use one platform for two communication websites so they don’t have to click between tabs to communicate.

What it does

The slack bot allows user to set people as important email and users can view unread email from the important email list in slack. Ideally, they can reply and send email messages to important emails from slack, but we were not able to finish in time. This helps filter out the irrelevant emails during work time and avoid missing important emails in the sea of dozens of irrelevant emails. It allows user to open one slack tab for two tasks (email and slack) and would not have to keep switching and finding different tabs to reply to work related messages.

How I built it

Before the hackathon, we met as a whole team a few times to brainstorm ideas, design the slack bot and research on the what we need to know to prepare for the Hackathon. During the hackathon, we split the team of five into 2, two people working on the slack part while the rest working on the Gmail part. Then we meet to integrate both parts together. Finally, we host the slack to run on an AWS EC2 instance

Challenges I ran into

Ultimately, we faced two major challenges that prevented us from creating a fully working product in this Hackathon. Firstly, there was incomplete documentation about how to create and use a Slack bot. During our research on the topic, we realized there simply wasn’t enough information readily available. This severely complicated matters because it felt as if we were diving into the unknown, and it took several hours just to get our Slack bot connected to Slack. Another major roadblock we faced was navigating Gmail’s API, and finding a way to await the Gmail get as it was deeply nested in several callbacks. This issue turned out to be unsolvable — even with the direct help of several mentors for several hours — and thus stopped us from making any further progress.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

The gmail sending is working as we have expected. Although it requires the user to enter their google email password into slack (very unsafe), it is able to detect emails and send and reply emails to the user by a call to a javascript function. Furthermore, the slack bot is able to detect events and direct messages occurring on the server as well as being able to send messages to the user. Finally, we are able to construct a EC2 server on aws that host our slack bot.

What I learned

Hosting on AWS, nodejs, slack API, Gmail API

What's next for Swift Send

Adding more features that the Gmail offers such as reply, forward, delay sending, and more. Ultimately integrating the entire Gmail system with Slack.

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