Personally, my love for both political science and computer science made me realize that I wanted to create a product at the intersection of both of these fields. Town Hall was the best way to do it. My app tries to engage people in political discussion and aims to rid the discussion of hyper-partisan rhetoric, and have users with different perspectives talk to each other much more often. It was a difficult process to finish coding my application from beginning to end, and I fell into some pitfalls while doing so. One such moment was when picking a server-side solution which would be easy to use with my front-end iOS application. I had heard a lot about Google’s beta release of Firestore and decided to give it a try. However, I realized that many of the features explained in the documentation were not available for use yet. Thus, I was forced to delete much of my existing code and begin a time-consuming process to migrate to the stable release of Firebase. Since I also wanted my project to be sustainable, I implemented multiple coding practices that would allow for easy remote collaboration and reliability. I attempted to use the least amount of third party APIs, so that I could stay less dependent on the maintenance of other projects. Overall, I can certainly say that I learned more about coding because of the challenges I faced, and that the entire process was much more enjoyable as I slowly overcame these challenges.

What inspired you (or your team)?

After being involved in congressional debate at school, and closely following the 2016 and 2018 election cycles, I realized that I wanted a way to be able to have simple discussions at the federal, state, and local levels about different policies. I also thought that allowing people to have preliminary votes on different topics might help elected officials better understand the needs of their constituents.