Inspiration

The recent COVID-19 pandemic, along with its effects on the world, drove us to create a tool that could be used to alleviate some of the stress it placed on the general populace. We noted that people were having trouble identifying 'safe spots' in their community and the spread of the virus in their neighborhood, and we wanted to fix that.

What it does

Viralert is a open source, community focused web app that allows users to see COVID-19 cases in their nearby community, as well as report their own status (e.g. showing symptoms, tested positive, etc). It updates in real-time and allows residents to learn how fast the virus is spreading in their neighborhood. Additionally, they can find out where it's safe to step outside, and preemptively know which places to avoid.

How we built it

Viralert is a full-stack web app built as a Spring Boot Application, complete with the Maps Javascript API from Google, the Thymeleaf template engine, HTML, CSS, and Bootstrap. It utilizes the Spring Web and Spring Security dependencies to serve a clean web app experience and authenticate users and hold their information securely.

Challenges we ran into

On the backend, we faced several security and web challenges - more specifically, in terms of authentication, account information storage, passing data from backend to frontend and vice versa, and also handling redirects and dealing with GET and POST requests as needed.

On the frontend, we ran into problems with correctly getting information for and displaying the maps and markers, as well as performing geocoding requests to turn user-readable addresses into data that could be used to mark points on a map. Additionally, using the Thymeleaf template engine proved to be a challenge, mainly regarding getting data from the backend. Finally, formatting the overall website and making it look presentable and easy to use was difficult as well.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We're proud of the fact that we successfully built a full-stack web app from the ground up, as well as implement user login/signup functionality and pass around information efficiently. Furthermore, we're proud of our clean UI and its use of responsive frameworks and design.

What we learned

Through building this web app, we learned how to develop a full-stack product from scratch, utilizing Spring frameworks and frontend design in conjunction to make a clean, usable app.

What's next for Viralert

We plan to expand our app to provide more specific, yet still anonymous information on cases in the neighborhood, as well as provide options to share map views with friends and family members. More functionality TBD!

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