Tafaddal was a project built during the 12 hour decodeDubai hackathon in January. We created it out of the need we perceived to catalog not just shops and their locations, but also the items they sell. Our user story was: "Say it's 11pm and you realise you've run out of milk, how do you know which is the closest store that is still open and sells your product? With Tafaddal, you just type in your product name, and the web app returns a list of shops nearby that are open and sell your product."
How it works
Tafaddal currently scrapes product and store info from various websites and Store locators in Dubai. However, we plan to add a CSV upload feature that will allow store owners to upload their store catalogs and also their GPS locations.
Challenges we ran into
The immediate challenge that we faced was creating a meaningful database of stores and their catalogs. Luckily, the concept we built is based on CircleK, a chain of convenience stores in Dubai, that list out most of their products on their webpage, as well as a list of stores and their location.
Subsequently, database design became a challenge, as we realised we needed to design a database model that would allow re-use of products and stores (for chains), while allowing complex relationships between them to be formed. We finally settled on a two-collection database, one fro items and one for stores (with support for chains), and used Mongo _ids to link between them.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Building an MVP in 12 hours, with intermittent internet The UX of the app was expertly thought out by one of our three team members.
What I learned
Over-estimate the time you need to build an app. Problems tend to crop up that you never expected could even exist.
What's next for Tafaddal
We are currently working on fine-tuning the web app as well as on a business model as we aim to apply to a local Startup accelerator to pursue this commercially