Inspiration

Every year, the University of Maryland conducts a random lottery in which people get assigned housing for the next year. Many people are left with dorms considered to be the worst on campus, for reasons of not having AC or being in inconvenient locations. The University provides an official room swapping service, however many people are reluctact to give up their spots for a worse placement. Our website aims to facilitate room swaps by connecting people willing to pay money for a better room to people who don't mind their placement as much.

What it does

This app lets people make Craigslist-like postings regarding their housing situations. If you’re a student looking to sublease, you can post availabilities you have or search through different postings to look for the house/room that fits your needs. You can sort based on top halls, cheapest halls, most expensive, and random selections. In terms of what you do when you go to post a listing, you would enter your gender, price you’re looking at subleasing for, hall name, number of rooms in dorm, room number, number of bathrooms, and details on the room to be swapped.

How we built it

This web app was built entirely in Node.js with a MongoDB database. On the frontend, Bootstrap and jQuery were used to style it up a bit. There are multiple routes you can navigate to, which queries the database to display various versions of the listings available.

Challenges we ran into

  • Making a form that can add and remove rows of information dynamically was an initial struggle. Ended up using jQuery to do the adding/removing, which was pretty ugly in the code.
  • There were a lot of asynchronous call issues with the Javascript language. Some method calls didn’t finish before the page was rendered, so nothing was showing up. Got around this through heavy use of Promises.
  • Getting Bootstrap to work with the Node.js app was not as fast as expected.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

It works!

What we learned

Node.js is life.

What's next for Underground Room Swap

Underground Room Swap is going places! We're planning on a huge launch within the UMD community. We want students across the country to get the most out of their housing experience, and what better way than to start where this idea originated from? We're planning on doing a huge beta test phase within a subset of UMD and then spread to the entire campus, and finally across the country!

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