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The Software Develop Idea to Revitalize Downtown Calgary
Halle Andrews
2 min

At YYC Hacks 2022, Calgary’s “Biggest Hackathon”, YYSecrets took home the third-place win. Mitchell Miller, Nurgul Akhshatayeva, Ziqian Quo, Binh Kieu, Kushan Wickramarachchi, Tim Lipp, and Taylor Morgan, are the founders and developers of YYSecrets_, _a valuable product aiming to revitalize the Calgary downtown lifestyle by promoting businesses and events.

Their team of seven created a project designed to make it easier for tourists and people who come to Calgary’s downtown to find new places or secrets to discover and enjoy. They wanted to create a product that would encourage people to stay in Calgary instead of driving straight to Banff as many tourists do. Their app aims to revitalize downtown by allowing more people to explore and hang out in the core of our city for longer than usual. YYSecrets is built using HTML, CSS, React, JavaScript, Go, MySQL, and a custom API, and allows businesses to easily submit their information, making themselves visible to anyone using the app. “The app works basically like free advertising for anyone that wants to add their business or event, and since the API is so simple to use, uptake would probably be pretty rapid. Even beyond tourists, it would be a unique source of new things to do for native Calgarians who maybe didn’t know about all the interesting things they were missing out on downtown,” Taylor writes.

When searching online and in tourist guides, specific attractions always get pointed out, rather than small, indie businesses and events that may not be immediately obvious. People may be more inclined to visit Calgary again if there are constantly different things to see and do. YYSecrets hopes to unearth hidden gems for Calgarians and tourists alike to discover. The app makes it simple to learn about all sorts of businesses and events – no sign-up required. Just enter the category, the amount of time and money you’re willing to spend, and get a deck of cards with all the matching businesses and events. By clicking “interested” or “not interested”, you go through the deck one at a time, creating a list of locations that pique your interest to view at the end. In its current state, the app supports the category, time, money, title, and description of each business and event, but the API can be updated to support an image, a link to the location on Google Maps, and more. This tool could help many more people take advantage of all that Calgary has to offer.

Without YYC Hacks 2022, this project may have never come to life. “This was my first hackathon, and I really enjoyed the idea of being given a problem and having to solve it with a team you haven’t really worked with much before, and possibly with technologies you haven’t worked with before. It’s a great place to just try everything, see what sticks, and then take the experience from the hackathon and apply it elsewhere,” Mitchell writes.


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