Due to the variety and flexibility of a university lifestyle, Carolina students often find themselves with either having bought too many or too few meal swipes. At the end of each academic semester, a common pattern can be observed. Students begin waiting outside dining halls asking for extra swipes because they've run dry, or students begin swiping in large groups of their friends because they've have a surplus. Unfortunately, a portion of our student population in these lines face food insecurity and rely on the kindhearted nature of their fellow Tarheels.
What it does
SwipeSwap provides students with a platform to exchange meal swipes at different dining halls across campus. The app will reduce food waste and fight food insecurity within our community by not letting pre-paid meal swipes go to waste at the end of a semester. Students who are financially-unable will now have the ability to purchase dining hall meal swipes from their peers at a cheaper, but mutually beneficial, price. Generous students can also offer meal swipes for free. Those with an abundance of meal swipes waste less, and those in need get more. In addition, students can find free food and campus events with catered services through the app's explore page. Furthermore, by partnering with local restaurants, SwipeSwap hopes to allow these restaurants can donate excess food to those in need. SwipeSwap saves college students and the Chapel Hill community time, money and most importantly, food.
How we built it
We were able to implement our project with the use of Xcode, Swift, Google Firebase and Firecode (NoSQL), and the Capital One Hack-a-thon "Nessie" API. We implemented the API to take care of all transactional backend work-- this functionality would view customer data and relay all purchase-related information from Merchant creation to payments. Google Firebase/Firecode provided us with authentication verification and a database to store information regarding our users, with the use of unique UIDs. Our user interface was primarily created using Xcode and Swift's storyboard functionality.
Challenges we ran into
The JSONs returned by the Capital One Hack-a-thon API did not have properties very similar to our app's user objects, which made it very difficult to implement. In addition, it was the first time most of us have used Swift and Xcode, and understanding how to implement the API and the primary function of APIs took some time.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Even though we knew we didn't have the most experience and background in Xcode, Swift, and using API's, we still overcame these obstacles and used the resources around us to bring our ideas to life. When faced with a problem we didn't know how to solve, we researched, identified our mistakes, and continued to improve our project.
What we learned
How an API works, both the functionality and implementation. We all also gained experience with multiple programming languages, of which none of us have mastered any. We learned how to bring an idea from being a few sketches on notebook paper into a fully-developed application.
What's next for SwipeSwapDemo
As of right now, our next steps are integrating the ability to upload photos in real time, update user profiles, manipulate our swipe/match function, and provide live updates of Twitter feeds in-app.