As two international and two out-of-state Michigan students, we know first-hand just how complicated traveling can be. It's hard to find the best deal and there are too many websites and transactions for one trip.
What it does
We figure out all the logistics so you don't have to. Just tell us an event you want to go and we'll provide you with a comprehensive trip itinerary and the fastest booking experience you've ever had. Presented in an extremely attractive UI/UX, we book your flight, hotel, and Uber all in one integrated purchase, with just one click.
How I built it
We started with the Uber API and requested price and time estimates. Then we repeated this process for the Expedia and QPX APIs. This was all initially built in Flask but then we realized that it would be faster if it was done asynchronosly so we had to research that and build it using Twisted and Klein frameworks, which at first brought down the time for the API calls significantly. This was all combined to form json objects that were then passed to the frontend where they were parsed and placed accordingly.
Challenges I ran into
The biggest challenges were definitely parsing the json objects as there was a lot of information in them and figuring out which parameters to pass. The next most difficult was switching from synchronous Flask to asynchronous Twisted and Klein for the API calls. JSON parsing on the fronted also became a challenge because there were a lot of parameters to be parsed and displayed in different parts of the code. This was in addition to exhaustion, sleep deprivation and unhappiness over missing Saturday’s home game :(.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
The API's pass information well from the back-end to the front-end and the UI/UX is absolutely beautiful. In addition to all the coding, we were able to build an entire brand around our hack by creating a unique logo, slogan, and social-media presence on Facebook and Twitter. We even spent a bunch of time doing Customer Discovery interviews with 18 fellow hackers and sponsors to validate our business model and pivot on our hypothesis. Most importantly, we worked extremely well together as a team, communicated effectively throughout, and powered through 36 hours of consecutive hacking!
What I learned
All of the above. None of us had done anything like this before.
What's next for xplor
After MHacks, we hope to deploy our first proof-of-concept prototype onto our website. Next, we're going to refine our front/back-end and finish the things we didn't have time to do at MHacks. From there, we hope to review our business model, establish as an LLC, and move forward as a startup with a fully operational product. In doing so, we hope to employ Customer Development and Lean Startup methodologies in order to ensure we have a valid product-market fit. In searching for a repeatable and scalable business model, we plan to seek mentorship from the University of Michigan entrepreneurial community. We plan to take this as far it will go.