A Unique Summer Project: Dabeer Abdul-Azeez

Today’s edition of The Frequency takes a look at a unique summer project pursued by one of our students in the faculty. Dabeer is a second year student in the iBioMed program and he is currently pursuing a degree in Engineering Physics and Biomedical Engineering.

This summer, Dabeer and his friends from various Ontario universities have been working on a website known as Virtrolio, which was recently featured in the news. Virtrolio is an online yearbook signing application that is targeted mainly at senior high school students who have lost the ability to sign each others’ yearbooks—before they split off to different post-secondary destinations—due to COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing. Instead of a physical book, Virtrolio gives each user a ‘virtrolio’ which their friends can sign by accessing an automatically generated ‘sharing link.’ Visiting this link allows friends to send customized messages from any device with internet access to the user who sent the link. Each friend can only write one message on another person’s virtrolio in order to mimic an in-person signing experience. At any time, a Virtrolio user can privately view, save, and/or delete the messages they received from their friends, while their friends cannot see anybody else’s messages. All you need to use Virtrolio is a Google account. . The Virtrolio team worked extremely hard over the past couple months to put this together, and they hope that they have been able to leave a meaningful impact among their peers in such unprecedented times.

During this project, Dabeer mentioned that the two skills he gained a greater depth of experience with were problem-solving and collaboration. Before this project, the only programming language Dabeer had substantial experience with was Python, and the one time he designed a website before was because he was forced to do it for a school assignment. In order to create Virtrolio, Dabeer learned numerous new coding languages, including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Typescript. He also learned how to use the Angular framework and Firebase cloud computing services to implement those languages in an efficient and intricate website design. In a span of two months, Dabeer was able to learn how to use these new softwares through his dedication; he watched many online tutorials and experimented constantly in order to gain enough experience to begin tackling problems within the project. Dabeer noted that one of the greatest challenges throughout this process was the onset of doubt due to the initial inexperience combined with the quickly approaching deadlines. Many of the tasks were not straightforward, requiring help from peers and lots of testing in order to achieve the desired result. Another challenge was making sure everyone was on the same page. This challenge required a lot of communication in order to prevent misinterpretations, especially in a larger group of 8 developers. The coordination between all of the members in the group was done through the software hosting platform GitHub. Throughout this project, Dabeer further improved his collaboration skills and gained experience working with a greater number of people as compared to what he and other engineering students are used to from first year.

To conclude, Dabeer emphasizes to you, the readers, the following: “The big thing that I realized working on this project is that if you work hard, you can make anything c

ome true. My friend, who is also the founder, came to me with the idea off the top of his head like a fever dream as if none of it could ever be possible, however, when you combine the right people with the right mindset, anything is possible. Our hard work was featured on the news, which we would have never imagined months ago before we started this project. If you ever have an idea about something, get it out there and see what people think because you never know what can happen”.

Written by Taylan Dalkan