Inspiration

Our inspiration is based on the fact that we love to travel, but are limited by our budgets as students. With websites such as camelcamelcamel for Amazon, there are a lack of options on the market with regards to flights. We want to provide a service which is easy to use, and more importantly, free to use.

What it does

It is a subscription service, where users have to create an account with preferences such as home location and a list of ideal destinations. Our back-end would query Skyscanner API daily, to try and find good deals for any routes to any of those destinations. If good deals are found, the details would be email-ed to the user to notify them of the deal, with a link to purchasing those tickets.

How we built it

For the front-end, we used bootstrap and Angular.js to improve the functionality of the website. The front-end communicates with the back-end for registering and logging-in of users, using HTTP post to send a command to the back-end to continually query those locations for that user daily. The back-end is built on Python and Flask, with the server setup via Heroku in a PostgreSQL database. The back-end also implements the travel API to connect to the Skyscanner data, which is parsed in the back-end as well.

Challenges we ran into

Some of the challenges we faced involved a change of plans halfway through the project, as we had to adapt our strategy in order to accomplish our goals. For example, we spent Saturday afternoon trying to learn Django, but found it a challenging process that did not quite meet our needs. Hence, we decided to change to Flask instead, which helped us make up for lost time. There are also issues we faced in the front-end, as we lacked experience using the full features of Angular.js as well.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This hackathon was a thoroughly enjoyable process, and we are proud that we managed to develop a full-stack application within the 3 of us, given that some of us lacked experience prior in aspects of web app development. However, after the hackathon, we feel that we have learnt a lot and become more confident in taking on tasks in web app development. The main accomplishment we are proud of is how much we have learnt, developing new skills which we can take away for the future.

What we learned

We all agreed that we have managed to come out of our comfort zone to develop in areas which we are not totally familiar with. It was the first time for some of us using common technologies such as Flask and Angular.js, while also learning other intricacies such as smtp in Python. We faced multiple challenges along the way, but overcame them to learn new lessons and also reinforce older concepts.

What's next for The Flighter

We were thinking of incorporating a travel log/blog function for users by linking it with their skyscanner account, and logging their travel history. This could be done with a visualisation via a map of the world, with the places the users have visited highlighted. We also plan to implement a moving average calculation and better algorithm for determining the threshold of a good deal, to notify the user.

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