Case Study: How We Developed MatchPlayer, an Engaging App For Golf Players
How great it is if there are people around you with the same passion as you have? What if your passion is a game and you need a partner but all your friends either too busy or just don't like it? Well, if you are keen on golf then we have some great news for you. Because we managed to create an app that helps users not only find a competitor for a game but much much more. Let us tell you how it all started...
How it all began
Once upon a time, there was a Swiss guy who was fond of golf. He liked playing golf with his wife but he wanted to find more experienced players in his area. So he tried to find such an app. And when he realized that there is no such, he decided to make it. He hired a development team and they made an application for him. Unfortunately, our future client met men of no scruples so his software simply didnt work.
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Some people would have considered it as a fail. However, our customer is a very persistent and purposeful gentleman. He hired a technical consultant and they started looking for someone experienced and reliable who they could trust. Thats how they found us.
The client wrote us in a support chat with the request to check his existing application and say if we can fix it. Unfortunately, the code of an existing app was written badly and so we couldnt use it at all. We offered to develop the app from the scratch and this is how it all began.
First of all, we prepared all the documentation to the project. The estimation was 3 500 hours because the project was going to be vast. The customer wanted to develop iOS and Android apps at the same time plus an admin panel with lots of functionality. But first things first, lets take a look at the functionality of the applications.
The app itself has three modes. The first mode allows users find competitors and arrange time and place for a game without bets. In a second mode, you find a competitor set time and place and you set a prize for a winner. It can be either money or anything else you both agreed with. And the third mode is a dating mode, where you may find a competitor you can date with.
The app has free and paid accounts. A user can register with the help of an email, Linkedin or Facebook.
MatchPlayer - app for golf players all around the world
In the app, there is a live chat to talk to a person without living the app. But the most interesting (and the most complex) feature was a search engine with multiple filters in each mode. For instance, if you are looking for a partner, you can indicate two locations - your home and a club you play in. You can also search people by age, gender, time and dates a person is available for a game and ranking (because if you are a pro, you may not want to play with an amateur). In a dating mode, there are even more filters. Among all others, here you can indicate desirable weight and height of a person you want to date with.
After you have played with your competitor you enter your score into a table. Your competitor has to the results of a game. If he or she doesnt, they appeal to admin.
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Here you can also find newsfeed. It is formed with the posts from users which means that every user can post a picture, text or share an interesting link. Admin can also post here some news about the application. The application supports two languages, English and German.
Best application for golf players
In the app, you can do much more than just search for other golf fans. For instance, you can shop here. Yes, thats right, you can purchase golf items right in the app. What is more, you can even book a golf tour to another country via the app!
Travelling mode in MatchPlayer
But that was just a tip of the iceberg. The most interesting is a part which users don't see. It's an admin panel that is packed with lots of analytical and statistics functionality. An Admin can check scores of each player and see different statistics ranking tables based on a particular golf club or region or country. He also manages promo codes that allow new users to get a premium account. Ads management (admin does it by himself). Users management, news management, golf club import and export (there are more than 24 thousand of golf clubs in the app), users export and much more.
Technologies behind the project
As a technological set, we chose Java for Android, Swift 3.0 for iOS app. The backend is written in Node.JS. We chose Node.JS because it is the best technology to build live chat using sockets. With the other programming language, it would be much more difficult to achieve the speed of messaging. For the Admin panel, we used Angular 2.
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As a place to store the server, we chose EC2 instance (in cloud of Amazon Web Services). We also adjusted load balancer to regulate the server traffic, so our system never fails.
Issues and difficulties we have faced
The fact that our customer is a very demanding person was a huge plus for us. Because he clearly explained what he wanted, what he liked and didnt like. For us, the biggest challenge in the project was the timeframes and deadlines. The estimated 3500 hours we had to finish in 4 months. Two developers worked on each platform (day and night, kidding) and we made it! We launched the product without a hitch.
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We still have lots of plans. Our customer has plenty of new great features on his mind to make the app even better and more engaging. It is not the end of story, it's a beginning of a long and fruitful cooperation with our partner. If you have a great idea to implement, contact us and lets develop it together!