Proxxi, A Proximity-Based Social App

proxxi-logoFor the last few months, Greg Wilson and I worked nights and weekends on a little side project that we called Proxxi. The idea of Proxxi came from personal experiences, being in situations where we wished there was an easy way to communicate with people around us. For example:

  • Is there anybody at the Marriott up for a 7:30am run tomorrow?
  • Is there anybody on this Eurostar who can lend me a US to UK adapter?
  • What’s the guest WIFI password at Logan airport?
  • Got a snow blower. Let me know if you need help digging out this morning.

There is a big difference between building demo and production apps, and Proxxi was also the opportunity for us to go deeper with some products, libraries, and services like Cordova, Node.js, MongoDB, and several cloud services.

What is Proxxi?

Proxxi is an app that connects you with people and things around you, wherever you are. Instead of “following people”, you “follow your location” and you automatically become a member of the ad hoc community made of people near you. You see what’s happening around you and you can actively participate in this proximity-based community. Your location is never shared unless you explicitly choose to share it, so your privacy is protected.

Proxxi lets you communicate with other users either publicly by commenting on a post, or privately using a safe, anonymous email relay service. When using the private email option, Proxxi assigns temporary email addresses to let you exchange emails with other users using your normal email app, but without revealing your real email address.

Here are some other examples of messages people could post on Proxxi:

  • Will pay $50 to swap my middle seat for an aisle seat on UA433.
  • How’s traffic on I95 south?
  • Anybody up for a drink at Terminal B?
  • Will remove snow from your driveway this AM for $40.
  • Huge garage sale at 10am tomorrow.
  • The Buckhorn Elementary school bus is running 15min late this morning.
  • Selling Chemistry II book 3rd edition. Will be in student union until 2pm.
  • Looking for study group for Mr. Wilson’s Calc IV class.
  • Looking for tickets for tonight’s game.

Proxxi Architecture

The mobile app was built with Cordova, Backbone.js, RequireJS, and Topcoat. At the server side, we used, Node.js, Express, and MongoDB running on EC2. We also use S3 and CloudFront for the photo sharing part of the application.

Here is a high-level architecture diagram.


Chicken and Egg

Apps like Proxxi are only as good as the information users share, the questions they ask, the answers they get, etc. So there is definitely a chicken and egg challenge at launch. So, if you think this application can be useful and fun, we count on you to start sharing!


  • Can’t find it….. Is it available for France?

    • Christophe Coenraets

      Hi JC, which phone do you have?

      • Ah, it may be the reason why: too small.
        “Sony Xperia Active” (my very small “test” phone)

  • Hans

    Quick question: what animation system did you use? It’s very smooth. Application is a great idea. How it will get some traction. Very well done.

  • Hans


  • Ashish

    Just downloaded the app… its not able to find my location, but gmap can. Also, are you planning to make the code available? I am not planning to copy the code, but I want to see how are you tackling the issues with scrolling on android APIs < 11.

    • Ashish

      Forgot to mention its not finding location on Samsung galaxy s4. On iPhone it works like a charm.

      • Ashish

        OK, figured out the issue on android. Android has this bug where its geocoder service just dies silently. Once that happens all applications relying on that service do not get any application update. Google maps on the other hand does not use this service and is not affected by this bug. Restarting device starts the geocoder service though.

  • Rags

    Will this be open sourced by Adobe ? Would be a great learning tool for phonegap

  • Anil

    Fantastic idea. How long it took to develop this kind of app. Just asking as I think I am spending more time than required by trying different ui libraries and js libraries every time I start with new app.

  • Hello from Athens, Greece.
    Excellent, brilliant idea and App. Looks like an 100% native thing. Tested on a Samsung Galaxy S4 mini and is extremely fast and well responding.

    This is a community based type of an app, the tougher type of App to become popular. But if it does become popular, it will be outstanding cause it’s very useful.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Paulo

    Work great on S4. A brief tutorial ?

  • Pretty cool! Is the project available on github?

  • EvanZ

    A co-worker and I tried this out. It seems that you have not yet implemented push notifications. Is that possible with Cordova?

    • Christophe Coenraets

      Yes it is possible (using a plugin), and it’s #1 on the list

      • EvanZ

        Great, thanks for the quick reply.

  • Jan-Dirk

    Can you add an option to show distances in KM’s?

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  • Jerry

    Looks good and great idea. Installed the app on a HTC desire C and seems very slow. Any more updates coming up for better performance? Or is it phoneGap issues?

  • senthil

    Looks great, are you sharing the source?

  • Deirdre

    Any way to invest in this app I think it’s brilliant

  • Ross

    It appears that you have pulled this from iTunes?

    It is still available on the Play Store but the endpoints don’t appear to be working.

  • omar

    How much does it cost to develop such an app? Just wondering because i have a few ideas that are based on user proximity. And also do you provide a service for development of such apps?

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  • reza

    need proxxy server

  • reza

    need proxxy sites

  • We have to buy proxies month by month

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  • Vertti

    Can I ask what happened to this project? Looks to have been a good idea to me

  • yuvaraj singh

    Thanks for sharing this informative content ,
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