Covid has made it increasingly difficult to stay on top of all the events and responsibilities going on in our lives. This has been a particularly challenging situation for students as we have to juggle the disconnect of online classes. We were inspired by software development issue tracking systems, such as Jira, that allowed users to pipeline tasks into weekly sprints and organize their progress on kanban boards. While this is a great way to manage tasks, it lacks some of the tradition to-do list style features that are essential for a students success.

What it does

TaskBrew helps students to track and organize their tasks into weekly blocks. It provides the high level overview of a kanban board, with the ability to view class tasks in a list type format. In addition to issue tracking we wanted TaskBrew to be a hub that students can go to for all class related issues. On each TaskBrew course page that a user creates, they are able to add a class schedule and external resources (think course portal or websites like Khan Academy).

How I built it

TaskBrew was built using a plethora of development technologies. 1.) Design the UI/UX using Figma. 2.) Implement the mockups using HTML, CSS, Javascript, and Nunjucks (templating engine). 3.) Create our backend service using Node and Express. 4.) Implement authentication via Firebase OAuth. 5.) Connect our API service to the Firebase Realtime Database. 6.) Host our Frontend and Backend on GCP App Engine.

Challenges I ran into

From the start we knew we were going to be taking on a big project for only a two person team in a 36-hour time period. We wanted to keep our features lean, but provide real value to our future users. One of the biggest challenges we ran into was lack of manpower. As the hackathon deadline came to a close, we struggled to connect the many different pieces we had been working on. While individual services within the platform worked, there were issues with the continuity of task representation across different pages. In other words, sometimes data wouldn't show up when it very clearly should have. After many hours of struggling, we worked through many of the problems and produced a platform that we are proud of, and hope will help future students.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

This platform is designed specifically for the benefit of students. This won't be the next Asana or Jira because it belongs to the people that need it. Our ear will always be to the ground so we can make sure we are implementing what is best for the student community.

What I learned

We learned how to listen and ask questions to better understand the needs of our users. It is easy to quickly jump into coding and produce a mediocre product for what you think the client wants. Starting at hour 0 we learned to take the time to ensure our mockups fit into the workflow of students and that we were going to produce a product that was visually pleasing. As we iterated through the different stages of developing TaskBrew, we learned to ask for feedback from others and how to utilize constructive criticism.

What's next for TaskBrew

After the hackathon finishes we will continue developing TaskBrew and features that will help make students' lives easier. We already have almost a dozen of our friends ready to signup and start using the platform once we launch and go live.

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