Bookis project

    Buy & Sell books in a
    matter of minutes

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    What is Bookis?

    What is Bookis?

    Bookis is a mobile application designed for those who like reading and prefer paper books to electronic and audio ones. This service allows buying and selling used and new books from other users and bookstores in supreme comfort. The extensive app library includes both literature novelties, and all the classics.

    To date, Bookis is mainly focused on Norwegians, and therefore most of the books offered are translated into Norwegian. However, in the future, the app owners plan to cover other languages too.

    Our task was to create a mobile marketplace which would allow Norwegians to freely distribute books among themselves by exchanging literature pieces for their cash equivalent. The service should work on iOS and Android platforms and be compatible with the maximum number of devices.

    In addition, it was important to develop an application with an intuitive interface that would be convenient for searching and adding books. Also, the app should offer the simplest transaction system. Only in this case, the Bookis owner could count on the network effect that is usual for any successful P2P marketplace.

    We are proud to say that we’ve coped with the task perfectly.

    Challenges and Implementation

    #1. Back-end development

    Backend development is one of the most important stages of app creation. And although we did not work full time as the backend developers (our Agilie team was the attracted assistance in this case), we did our best to ensure the highest efficiency and speed of the application.

    The Bookis app has been built using the MongoDB database and a fast, flexible, and minimalistic web framework named Express. Its important benefit is an extensive set of features for mobile and web apps.

    #2. Advanced search engine

    Bookis offers a very convenient search system that makes it possible to find any book in a matter of minutes. Enter the title of the book and get all the results sorted by groups (New, Popular, A-Z, Rating, Price).

    The search takes a minimum of time without forcing users to wait. To make that happen, we resorted to the help of the third-party service Elasticsearch.

    #3. Push notifications

    Bookis has a system of push-notifications that come in response to any event: comments to the review, a new chat message, etc. Thus, this feature allows maintaining contact with the user and reminding him of the Bookis app.

    To implement the push notification system, we used the following technologies: APNS (for the iOS platform), GCM (for Android devices), and FCM (suitable for both iOS and Android).

    #4. Beautiful animations

    A beautiful interface is a key to the success of any application. In this case, we created an appealing and clear design and provided the service with charming and unobtrusive animations. For example, when a user visits the book description page, he sees the image of its cover at the top. If the user starts moving down the screen, the picture gradually expands, becomes more and more transparent, and, finally, completely disappears. This effect produces a favorable impression and gives the app a special flavor.

    Bookis project screenshots

    #5. Delivery system

    One of the key features of any online store or marketplace is, of course, a delivery system. And Bookis is no exception. In addition to the option of a personal meeting between the seller and the buyer, this application offers the possibility of courier delivery.

    The Doormat delivery service, very popular in Norway, negotiates with the seller and the buyer and executes the order very quickly. Our task was to establish a system of interaction of this service with customers using API provided.

    The main problem was overcoming the language barrier: the fact is that the Norwegian language contains characters that do not exist in English. The application did not always understand and correctly decrypt the entered delivery address, which could lead to confusion of all kinds. To solve this problem, we had to use a system of double encoding. This approach avoids the complexity of decrypting data, so the parcel arrives at its destination safely.

    #6. Socket server for chat

    One of the tasks for our backend experts was the development of a server socket for chat by using hapi, a reliable framework for building applications and services. As a database for storing messages, we used Redis, an open source, in-memory data structure store.

    The most classical solution to such task involves using Redis publish/subscribe messaging paradigm. However, in this case, there is a problem of lack of persistence, which means messages are not saved or cached. Having missed a message, a subscriber can't get it again.

    However, we have overcome this pitfall by establishing a constant updating system. Thanks to this, messages are never lost.

    #7. App Scanner

    Another great Bookis feature is the ability to scan a barcode or ISBN in order to get maximum information about the book. However, the usual smartphone camera can recognize only the traditional barcode, and we needed to expand these possibilities.

    So, we used a mobile technology named ABBYY Real-Time Recognition. It can instantly extract information from the surfaces of various objects and does not even require an Internet connection. That’s why our Bookis application easily decrypts the ISBN code and provides all available book data.

    #8. Rows localization

    We've written a script that simplifies the process of localizing rows. In other words, the task of adding a new language to the app has become really easy. Now it takes a minimum of time, which means that we save money for our client.

    #9. Payment system

    Of course, any marketplace implies the payment gateway integration. For our app, we used Stripe technology that handles billions of dollars every year for leading businesses around the world.

    #10. Help

    It is very important to stay in touch with your users and quickly respond to their possible complaints (or answer questions that arise). So, the application must have an effective support system. Bookis offers users to take advantage of the FAQ and Contact Us services for this very purpose. Both are implemented using the Intercom tool.

    Benefits for two user groups

    Bookis is aimed at two groups of users: those who are looking for a book and those who want to sell a particular instance of their library. And for both audiences, we offer the most convenient interaction with the service.

    Benefits for the seller

    • opportunity to put your own price
    • detailed statistics for assessing consumer behavior
    • the simplicity of the process of adding goods (books)
    • the ability to communicate with other users
    • the chance to get positive review
    • the opportunity to participate in the ranking of books

    Benefits for the buyer

    • advanced search system
    • protection against misconduct
    • convenient delivery system
    • possibility to assess the state of the book at a distance
    • chat with other users
    • possibility to read reviews of other users and leave yours
    Take a look at the book's description

    A user can visit the page of any interesting book. On this screen, he can:

    • see the book characteristics (price, publication date, etc.)
    • read a brief description of the book content
    • add the book to one of his lists
    • tap to rate (put a book rating, from 1 to 5 stars)
    • read and write reviews
    • see the scale of ratings
    • see who recommended this book to read
    Visit your booklists

    The user can see his booklists which are divided into the following categories:

    • Have read
    • Reading
    • Not read yet

    In addition, there are two more important subsections: a special Wishlist for books that are particularly interesting to the user, and Scanned Books.
    And, of course, the user can create any other lists at his discretion.

    Chat with other users

    Among other things, Bookis offers customers the opportunity to communicate with each other using the Chat feature.
    Users can exchange opinions about the book or discuss the most convenient terms of delivery.

    Explore for search inspiration

    The first app screen offers users to familiarize themselves with the list of recommended and popular books from top ratings.
    Lists for search inspiration include such categories as:

    • Recommended books
    • Genres
    • Popular books
    • We recommend (Top100 & Super Cheap)
    Add for sale

    Here a user can add a book for sale with Bookis’s scanner we've described earlier. If the scanned book has not been found in the app library, the user is free to add it to the database by entering all the information required (including ISBN).

    Buy used and
    new books in-app

    This screen displays a shopping cart. Here a user can see the whole process of his interaction with the seller when buying new or used books.

    Agilie Team
    The following specialists worked on this project:
    • The project manager who coordinated the interaction between our team and the client
    • 2 UI/UX designers who created a beautiful app interface. Initially, the client provided us with a design concept made by others specialists but Agilie design team offered our own vision of the app interface, and it was much better than the existing version. So the client gladly approved it and allowed us to bring our UI/UX services. (about 2 full time months for creating UI/UX design)
    • 1 backend developer responsible for implementing effective interaction between the databases and software business logic (about 2 full time months for the support and maintenance)
    • 4 mobile developers including technical and team leads who implemented the idea and built an application that is compatible with iOS and Android platforms (each team spent around 4 full time months for Android development and IOS app development)
    • QA team that checked the application for error-free operation (about 3 full time months)
    We are always open to new interesting tasks of any level of complexity.
    Contact us