Announcing EvoFinder.ca

EvoFinder is an unofficial web client for evo car share written in TypeScript

January 7, 2021

Evo Finder- Find nearby Evo car share vehicles
Evo Finder- Find nearby Evo car share vehicles

An unofficial web client for Evo Car Share

I’m a happy user of the Evo Car Share service here in Vancouver. Unfortunately, about a year ago they discontinued their web interface. This was a problem for me, as I used a web browser to interact with their service.

I don’t know why they got rid of it. It looks to me like their platform vendor, Vulog, doesn’t offer the option anymore. Even if I wanted to run their Android app, I couldn’t. It crashes if it can’t find Google Play services. Decompiling the app, one can see it is full of tracking and retargeting libraries from the likes of Baidu and Facebook.

What now?

So, I have a problem. I want to use the service, but it has become very difficult for me to do so. The only reasonable course of action I could find was to reverse engineer the Android app and re-implement a subset of its features as a web app.

Now that the MVP is up at EvoFinder.ca, I’m going to be writing a detailed blog post on the process in the near future.

From Android app to web app

An upcoming post will cover the reverse-engineering process. In a nutshell, I ran the Android app on my workstation using an emulator and I intercepted all communications using mitmproxy. Setting up the environment was surprisingly tedious. Using the captured traffic as documentation, I made a prototype first in Bash, then in JavaScript and finally the finished version in TypeScript.

Summary

The whole thing has been a ton of fun. I still have a few bits and pieces to add to the web app, but it is already useful. I am not going to make use of the authenticated portion of the API, which would allow users to reserve cars. It would be cool, but I don’t want to upset anybody. As it is now, I have to hope nobody reserves the car before I can get to it. But at least I can use the service!

I just want to make it clear that this was a labour of love. I enjoy the service and I wanted to be able to continue to use it, so I spent over 100 hours of my time making that possible. If this project offends anybody, please don’t hesitate to contact me.