The NHS staff are on the frontline, fighting the COVID-19 virus and protecting the every day person. In recent years the NHS has had cutbacks and the staff are continuing to fight for increased pay. There are currently many fundraisers for the NHS as an organisation but there is nothing in place for the staff. This was the motivation behind Tiply. Our team is made up of two students from different universities in the UK that share the same desire to help NHS staff.

What it does

Tiply is a simple web application and it is broken down into two parts:

  1. Allows NHS staff to create an account (verified via their NHS email addresses) and enter their PayPal email addresses (for secure payments).
  2. A donator can submit a tip / donation and enter a supportive message for the NHS staff.

The next step is a python application that runs once a month and performs the following tasks:

  1. It will combine small donations into a larger donation (based on a set threshold £10)
  2. If there are less tips than registered NHS staff, then tips are randomly assigned.
  3. If there are more tips than registered NHS staff, then tips are randomly assigned and left over tips are carried over to the next month.
  4. Using PayPal APIs the tips are sent to the NHS staff

How I built it

The web application is built on a Wordpress backend. This is to save time and make use of the security offered by Wordpress. The data collection and messaging are built using PHP and Wordpress functions.

The Wordpress database is hosted as an AWS RDS database for additional security and resilience.

The Python script is currently a local script the reads from the AWS RDS database and from PayPal APIs to allocate the tips / donations and send them to the NHS staff.

Challenges I ran into

There was many challenges along the way with the project. We joined the hackathon a little late so had less time to develop our solution. Wordpress was challenging to learn all of their built in functions and how to use it best. There was challenges getting the site hosted (currently waiting for DNS servers to catch up then the application will be live).

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Taking part in our first hackathon and coming up with an idea that can really make a difference. I think the NHS staff will be moved by the support of the public is this becomes popular.

What I learned

I have learned a lot in the few days working on this project. I have learned how demanding a hackathon is, how tricky web development can be to make something simple look good, I have learned how big Wordpress is and how is works behind the scenes. I have also learned how to see a project through from the idea stage to production.

What's next for Tiply

There is still a lot of work to be done. The first step once the website is live, is to share it around and show this to the public. We would like to get the hashtag #TipTheNHS trending and shared through social media.

From a technical standpoint, we would like to spend more time on the project to clean up the code and add additional layers of validation. We would like to expand the site with more pages / features such as;

  1. A counter showing the amount of staff signed up
  2. A counter showing the amount tipped / donated
  3. A live alert that displays each time a donation is submitted.
  4. A message wall showing every supportive message that has been submitted.
  5. A mechanism for NHS staff to show the tips / donations they received (show the full cycle works).
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