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App for booking a parking spot in a co-working space without code

Parking App

A story from Makerpad
Quick Stats

Tools used: Drona, Zapier

Time taken: 5 days

App for booking a parking spot in a co-working space without code

I'm Gayatri Sachdeva, working with DronaHQ.I have an elementary level technical understanding (If-Else logic, iterations, and basic stuff).

I created a Parking App using DronaHQ's Studio and Zapier Integrations.It essentially solves the purpose of booking a parking spot in a co-working space.Users can check the availability of parking spots and book for half-day or full-day.Spots can be booked a day or two in advance only. This is to ensure that everyone in the office gets a fair chance. Users can cancel a parking spot booked by them. This sends out a notification on their Slack channel so anyone who has their vehicle parked outside can bring them in.

It is ideal for people working in shared or co-working spaces where parking is limited (insufficient spots in comparison to the number of employees commuting to work on their own vehicles). The app was made to systemize parking and take the frustration away from not finding parking spots or unsafe parking or having to pay an additional parking fee.

I used DronaHQ's no-code tool Studio to make the app. Along with that, I used Zapier to integrate with our Slack channel for notifications.

How I built it?

My office had relocated to a new workplace and we found ourselves in a parking pickle. A limited number of spots available, each spot can accommodate either 1 car or 6 bikes at a time. I used 2 tools to solve our workplace problem:

#1 DronaHQ Studio: Studio is DronaHQ's no-code app development platform. I used their(1) app builder for screens and UI elements,(2) workflows to automate data update and send in-app notifications and their(3) spreadsheet-like database called Sheets is where I maintain a log of vehicles parked/spots booked/spots available and so on.

In the app builder I created 3 screens: A navigation menu, booking a spot and relieving a booked spot. I added if-else logic using the tool's Rule Engine to check availability and also to not let a user book twice for a day.

All data submitted (spot booked/cancelled) is synced instantly to the Sheet by the workflow added to allow the automation.

#2 Zapier: To send out notifications from App to Slack I used a simple Zap.An action (Cancel Booking) on the app triggers the Zap to send out a message on the selected Slack channel. I used Zapier also to reset the parking slot status every morning.

It took me 5 days, 3-4 hours every day, to come up with the final app. The biggest chunk of time was spent on figuring out what data elements I will require and how I plan on maintain spot availability status. Since I market the product on various channels, this app/problem seemed like a good opportunity for me to try the platform out in-depth.

I had previously played around with both Studio and Zapier to develop some familiarity (took about 2-3 hours, I'd made simple form-based apps for data collection and notifications). And due to the same, I decided to not explore further as the answer was pretty much in front of me. The only two complexities I faced were deciding on a schema (data elements required and their state) and conditional workflows to control spots status for cars vs bikes.

"Within a day I had a working prototype of the app ready to test my controls and workflows."

Views on No-code

I am in complete awe of the no-code space. It makes one feel empowered to do more than one thought they could. Great for those with a 'Do It Yourself' mindset and people with limited resources. The best part I like about no-code is easy updates. It allows you to make microscopic changes easily without disrupting the entire structure of the product/app.

Limitation, I believe, comes when one wants highly custom elements on their product like an animation or a wdiget.  That's when coding comes back into the picture. While the app I created has a simple look and feel, Studio does offer an Editor for developers to code and create custom UI. I chose not to venture there because I the simple app is meeting our needs.

"I am in complete awe of the no-code space. It makes one feel empowered to do more than one thought they could."

I'm on Twitter here and here is a blog I'd written when I'd initially published the app and a video on how the app works:

Currently it is a private app but I plan on sharing it on DronaHQ's Marketplace where users can experience and use the app for themselves.

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