As young professionals entering the professional market, we felt that there are multitudes of people out in the world who we may never meet, but have similar interests or hobbies. The applications and social media sites currently available all focus on connecting with those who have already met, and enhances the relationship between known colleagues and friends. The attendees at Hack The North 2015 reinforces this idea; there are so many talented and amazing people here, even from our home-towns, who we simply do not get the opportunity to connect with in the past. Through our efforts to provide the best methods to reach out to those individuals, weLink was born.
What Is It?
weLink itself is a rather simple concept. The idea is for users to provide their interest and hobbies when they signed up, creating an online public profile that other weLink users will see. Currently designed for iOS, the application generates a customized list of 'suitable' individuals for each user will be generated through a mixture of their proximity and interests. Location services may be toggled on and off depending on whether or not the individual is looking for someone with similar interests. There is also a chat system integrated with the app, allowing individuals to communicate and share ideas with one another. After people meet up an chat, they can send pictures of themselves or the activities they did through social media (or post it on their weLink profile). These activities will also give the user points, which are used to rank them on a leaderboard based on how active and satisfied they were with their meetings.
How We Built It
Using mainly xCode and Firebase, we did the most of the coding in Swift, and integrated Firebase into cocoapods for the real-time user interface.
Challenges We Had
Working with the Facebook-API was a lot more difficult than we expected; there were many challenges with configuring the application to authenticate, and sometimes the code would just not run. Eventually we had some help from a Facebook representative to overcome this, with many publications found on Google helping along the way. Of course learning Swift was difficult as well, but we came together as a team to finish the task.
Accomplishments and What We Learned
We learned so much about Swift code and the APIs that we used. In terms of technicalities, we are so proud to have come together as a team to overcome the challenges that we had. We really enjoyed using Firebase for real time user interface, and we loved how everyone came together to help us. This was truly a team effort by everyone at Hack The North 2015. We are amazed at how indico-API worked, and how well it integrated into our system.
What's next for weLink
The application is currently functional, but we hope to add mapping capabilities as well as a more seamless user interface. Because the experience weLink is dependant on the information that members provide, we would like to see more security parameters placed to protect individuals from fraud and crime. At the same time, a better system for matching up members will be integrated. For example, by using the existing friends and connections they currently have in their social media, information can be extrapolated to eventually include those individuals with similar interests and friends. This social media application has a lot to offer, and a lot of potential to expand in the future.