We were inspired by Scott Forstall's keynote speech, where he outlined the importance of increasing awareness in an age of increasing misinformation. We wanted to be part of the solution.

What it does

Our project is a simple way for people to stay up to date on any topic. We accomplish this by allowing a user to save any query on a webpage with the click of a button and automatically get periodic updates when significant news or developments about the query happens.

How we built it

The backend is a Django python server deployed through AWS Elastic Beanstalk on an EC2 server. We used a Firebase realtime database to store information about our users and their queries. The Chrome browser extension was built with HTML, CSS, and Javascript. We utilized Microsoft's Bing News Search API in order to find articles from user queries. To determine when to update our users by email of new developments on their queries, we scrape thousands of past articles related to the query and use historical data in order to calculate a relevance threshold for new potential articles that may be delivered to the user.

Challenges we ran into

Our main challenge was getting all the technologies that we were using to work with each other. This meant getting the EC2 instance running our Django server to communicate with our Firebase Database and the Chrome Extension client. Debugging our application on the EC2 instance proved to be particularly challenging.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud that we were able to integrate so many different services into one coherent product. We are also excited to have made something can help bring awareness to many pressing issues.

What we learned

We learned a lot about running and deploying web applications using tools designed to scale.

What's next for Up2Date

Our project could be expanded to support more platforms, including other browsers or smartphones. Additionally, using more historical data to predict how relevant new articles are could help improve the quality of the relevance algorithm and the product.

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