One of the largest hurdles that many face when first entering the world of stock option trading is the fear of losing real money while learning how to operate. When considering younger age groups who have little exposure to the stock market and few expendible resources, fears increase to a level that keep most people away. Our aim is to facilitate people of all ages who would like to test techniques or learn how to trade in the stock market by providing a free tool to buy and sell stocks without the risk of losing actual money.

What it does

TradeOff is a free tool that can be used to buy and sell stocks, monitor each stock's performance, and test new techniques in a simulated environment. We take away the fear of losing real money as all "trades" are local and therefore do not cost anything.

How we built it

We split our project into two major parts: front and back end. The front end, or user interface, was developed in HTML, CSS, SASS, and javascript while being hosted on AWS. The back end was split to implement a database, and a server to facilitate request from the website. We used MySQL for the database, holding information on stocks and users. The server used a REST API to respond to GET requests from the website, allowing us to get the data we needed wherever we need it.

Challenges we ran into

We initially attempted to build the front end using React.js, coming in with no previous experience using the view library. We quickly realized that we would be unable to build a completed product using React.js as our inexperience caused us to take far too long to implement new features. We also ran into issues managing the AWS dependencies to build the Amazon Alexa portion using Gradle. Our solution was to download the .jar file explicitely and including it in the classpath

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We built up a beautiful front end that is simple and easy to use, taking advantage of the widely accepted material design standards to create something that many users are familiar with. We are also proud of the smooth setup of the MySQL database used to store the data we needed for stock tickers and users.

What we learned

We learned a lot about React.js components and how to manipulate state even though we weren't able to implement it into the final product, realizing that we would need a lot more experience to be able to create a polished application. We also gained more experience building MySQL databases, using node.js on the backend, and learned much more about javascript and callbacks.

What's next for TradeOff

Next we would include the ability to short sell stocks as this is a fundamental technique used in stock trading. We would also polish the underlying code, making it more efficient and capable of handling many more users than are currently supported. We would continue to add more features to encourage competition between users on the site and to improve the quality of life of the user. Last of all we would want to include the ability to research stock tickers on TradeOff much easier than is currently available.

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