projects/clubhub
George

ClubHub

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This page presents a history of Club Hub. To learn more about the service itself, visit clubhub.live.

Club Hub is open source! Fork it on GitHub.

Club Hub seeks to bring school announcements into the 21st century by hosting posters and events to the cloud. Through the magic of automation, it makes administrators' lives easier by automatically generating event listings and poster slideshows for digital displays.

Club Hub LIVE greets its viewers with a friendly title card.

I created Club Hub to help reduce information overload when I was a student at the Illinois Math and Science Academy. In my first year there, I immediately noticed that our campus-wide mailing list was frequently overwhelmed with messages. Simultaneously, many students found it frustrating to keep track of events and posters when they were communicated through Facebook, which amounted to an uncomfortable intrusion into a more personal domain. In short, information about events at IMSA was heavily fragmented and confusing.

I began prototyping a way to fix this problem. It was simple: a single-source website to host information about school events. It featured only a calendar and a set of announcements from each club. And there it was: Club Hub was born.

But as any developer knows, the prime challenge of bringing a new technology into the world is overcoming the immense inertia of the status quo. Although Club Hub presented tangible improvements over the dated regime of email communications, many students had already developed techniques to cope with the inefficiency of the system. Still, keen to the system's un-sustainability, I worked to improve Club Hub whenever I had the chance, hoping to ready it for when it would be needed.

Inevitably, the woodwork buckled when our school was faced with a crisis: the state had failed to pass a budget, crippling the monetary resources of our state-funded school. Flyer and poster printing were halted as austerity measures. The result: our emails and Facebook exploded with club advertisements to compensate. The information overload had reached a climax.

It was time for Club Hub to shine. Working with the school administration, I deployed three digital displays in high-traffic areas and worked to upgrade Club Hub to fit the administration's specifications. Since then, Club Hub has enjoyed immense success, and it has become the school's official channel of club communication and event registration.

I've open-sourced Club Hub so that any school can deploy it. To learn more about the product itsef, check out clubhub.live.

A Brief History of Club Hub

A timeline showing Club Hub's various incarnations.

  • v0.0.1 beta (September 2014): Club Hub is born! It is very simple prototype— a mere set of static webpages each with a Google Calendar and a feed of emails for just that club.
  • v0.0.2 beta (Winter 2014): The first experiment with a "poster wall" and a management platform (Google Sheets, AppScript, and lots of JS).
  • v0.1.0 beta (Early 2015): Made a standalone poster wall. Beautified the admin sheet. Added a prototype auto-slideshow.
  • v0.2.0 beta: (Spring 2015): Experiments with different aesthetics to try to attract users, including a chalkboard aesthetic. It didn't work out, so I returned to minimalism.
  • v2.0.0 (Winter 2015): Inception of the event table. Added a feature to cast the slideshow on Chromecast. This is when I began collaborating with the school administration, putting Club Hub out of beta!
  • v3.0.1 (July 2016): Club Hub gets a facelift with new aesthetics, an admin panel (so long, Sheets!), and a robust presentation platform.
  • v3.1.0 (Spring and Summer 2017): Club Hub seems like it could be useful for all schools. It gets an overhaul and bug fixes to get ready for such a project.
  • v4.1.2 (Fall 2017): Club Hub gets open-sourced, and is finally ready for the world!