by Kyla Qi.
RoboJackets might be mainly focused on robotics, but there’s a lot of administrative work that goes into running such a large organization. Dues payments must be recorded, access to shop space and code repositories must be managed, and attendance must be tracked. In recent years, some members of our IT team have taken it upon themselves to automate major portions of this work with custom software. We’ve already covered the People Counter in the November issue of this newsletter, so we thought we’d cover some of the other projects our webdev team works on.
Around five years ago, RoboJackets started seeing a significant uptick in membership. From 2015 to 2016 the number of dues paying members nearly doubled from around 80 to over 150, and has since swelled to over 200. MyRoboJackets, a RoboJackets-written web application, was started in the summer of 2017 out of a desire to tailor dues payment and attendance tracking to the needs of our growing membership in a way that the Georgia Tech provided solution couldn’t. It allows members to pay dues online, helps project managers keep track of merchandise distribution, records demographic information that helps core leadership understand the makeup of the organization, and generates reports for third parties like the College of Computing and sponsors. It also facilitates FASET recruitment and collects useful data, including how a recruited member heard about us, helping us target our recruitment efforts. Previously, a lot of this information was laboriously recorded by hand and manually entered into spreadsheets, a daunting task as recruitment and attendance skyrocketed.
MyRoboJackets being developed in house also has the added benefit of fast iteration and custom design. According to our current Web App Product Owner, Evan Strat: “Since we develop it ourselves, we were able to quickly adapt to the COVID-19 situation by adding remote attendance links.” Where previously members signed in via tapping their BuzzCard on a kiosk in the shop, remote attendance links allow students to remotely log attendance by simply clicking a link. The development team has also worked closely with Sponsorship Chair Brian Epstein to make sure the new resume book generation feature would meet his needs.
The RoboJackets Enterprise Directory Interconnect (JEDI for short) is our internal automation platform. It takes information about a student’s membership status and uses that information to provision or revoke said student’s access to a variety of RoboJackets managed services and spaces. This includes tools in the Common Machining Area, our GitHub organization, and our ClickUp workspace, to name a few. Previously, access to all of these systems would have to be requested by members after they paid dues and manually provisioned by a project manager or the IT team. The work of our web app developers allows our teams to spend more time building robots and less time dealing with paperwork.
You can explore the MyRobojackets code repository here.