It’s been a few months since one of my personal projects get online. Namely, https://bback.me, a service to help you find your lost items with the help of people!
This service is based on the observation that most people are willing to return a found object to its owner, if only they would be able to contact him. Thus, the number of posts on social networks about people having found lost items and seeking for their owner.
How it works¶
The main idea — which in itself is not new — is to mark objects with an identifier that allows the person who finds the object to contact its owner. The novelty is to mark objects with a short internet addresses (URL), recognizable as such.
The main characteristics are as follows:
The service is free of charge and relies on user donations to balance operating costs.
Each person can choose the domain name that they think is most likely to be recognized or understood by the person who finds the object.
For example, in France, we may use cqi.fr or rendre.fr. In Anglo-Saxon countries, bback.org and bback.me will be more suitable. For the Dutch, kwijt.nu will be more appropriate. More generally, the domains hooz.it and lost.re are also available.
We do not supply labels because it is difficult to provide formats suitable for different uses. You can use any means at your disposal to mark your objects.
I set up as an “auto-entrepreneur” in order to legally host my personal projects that could generate costs and financial income. My “stage” name is Antipodae. I will have other projects to present to you in the coming months.
I had some concern about the cost of being an “auto-entrepreneur”, especially the CFE (cotisation foncière des entreprises), but it is possible to avoid this tax if you don’t have any financial income.
On the technical side, the site is developed in Python with the framework Web2py. It is hosted by Google App Engine.
The web2py framework allows, taking into account the constraints of the GAE NoSQL database, to develop an application that can be hosted on GAE, but also be migrated under a more traditional environment if necessary. This solution was chosen so as not to be locked in the GAE ecosystem if it no longer met the need.
Sending mail is an important component of the service and is therefore duplicated between an internally managed Exim server, the Sendgrid service and the mail sending service included with the GAE service as a last resort.
The service is composed of several identical sites, with the same name (rendre.fr, bback.org, kwijt.nu,…). All images of the site are generated from a source image in SVG format, then translated according to the language and site of destination, with the help of the translation tools provided by the web2py framework. For example for the home page strip:
In the following example, note that the name of the object entered by the user on his screen is translated.
The frame of the site is built on a home made template booststrap.
I hope this site will be of some help. Feel free to use it and to give feedback.