Sunday, March 15, 2009


I have secured a web server for the development and testing of TextbookGuru, and it should be robust enough to handle the load of at least one small university using the system.

I have been thinking of other possible names for the system, as I am not 100% sold on TbG, but for now it sill stay.

Because most of my web development experience is with back-end database type stuff, my biggest obstacle thus far is getting a clean and pretty front-end developed. I have been working on it though, and will release a beta version of a front end this week if all goes as planned.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

About TextbookGuru

TextbookGuru is an open source web platform that will allow students to easily buy and sell books to and from other students at their school. The motivation for this project is that the primary means for students to buy and sell books on campus is to go through the school bookstore, and the bookstore tends to charge a lot to buy books and give a small fraction back in return when they are sold back. There is the option to buy and sell used books online, but this adds a few layers of unwanted complexity, including making sure the book version is correct, and sending and recieving payment.
A campus-specific platform makes it much easier to integrate with the courses at the school. A student can look up a course, see what books she needs, and see other students on campus that have the book and wish to sell it. She can contact a student that has the book via email, and set up a meeting to make the exchange.
I hope to be able to integrate the system with the bookstore's book list, so every semester the books for the courses can be loaded into a database for the website and students can lookup what books they need for the semester and if other students have the books for sale.
I would like to have a target price for the books (both buying and selling) be 50 percent of the new cost, but in the end the cost will be up to the students participating in the transaction.

I will update this blog with status updates during the semester. Thanks for checking my project out.

TextbookGuru is sponsored by the Rensselaer Center for Open Source, generously funded by Sean O’Sullivan, Class of 1985.