Hack Day 2: The Liveblog

By: Tim Blair

Tags:

  • hackday
  • liveblog

7:56am: The office is still quiet, with just the moderation team (who work 24/7) hard at it, but there are already a couple of eager developers in the office getting a head-start on their hack day projects.

9:00am: Everyone's in, and it's the storm before the calm. Lots of discussion and planning, then it'll be down to work: with only a few hours to produce something demoable by the end of the day, there's no time for procrastination!

9:14am: Our illustrious leader Barry has joined the factory floor and come to sit at a desk in the main office with his laptop to start work. First question at the kit that was on the desk, "Is this an iMac?" "No Barry, that's a monitor".

9:27am: Some people still in discussion mode, others already frantically banging away at keyboards. Still waiting for the first set of headphones to go on.

9:46am: One or two people still discussing... will they regret this later or will the extra planning see them emerge as champions?

10:05am: It's just past 10am, and we've already got people showing good results. Well, results, at least.

First hack output.

10:48am: Lots of Hello World pages being seen, no #facedesking just yet. Check out the #gdhackday tweets. for more updates.

11:46am: The Directors have been round to see what the teams plan to produce today. The PMs have sucessfully delivered a large tea and coffee round. The Hack Day trophies have arrived in the office with slightly less fanfare than the Olympic torch. Hacking is now in full swing.

12:08am: Ruby, Haskell, SQL, RabbitMQ, Node.js, SparkleShare, Sip, Chocolate, Sinatra, JS, CF, cron, Redis - just some of the technologies and tools being used by the 14 teams today.

12:49pm: ...and that's lunch. Teams wasting little time, all quickly back at their desks with food. HACK, eat, HACK!.

14:08pm: Exciting stuff happening! Live chat / messaging system using HTML5, CSS3, sockets, JS, node, Pusher and CF. UX inform me it will be a "slick experience."

15:30pm: We're into the final hour now and things are starting to appear on screens. Here's a sneaky peek at work the "slick" instant messaging feature. Start wrapping up people, it's presentation time soon!

First hack output.

16:00pm: There it is! The first "ARRRRRGH!" Of the day. Tick tock tick tock. Thirty minutes left! The PMs are thinking this may not be the best time to remind everyone to complete their timesheets today...

17:34pm: And that's a wrap. 14 excellent hacks, ranging from new communication tools (both textual and video), recommendations (both member-to-member and member-to-site), improvements to messaging and search, and internal tools such as a scheduled HTTP service and improvements to our log aggregation and processing. All that's left it the judging...

17:45pm: and the three winning teams have been chosen and announced:

  • The Innovation Award (chosen by CTO Barry) goes to Matt and Jamie for their work on log aggregation.
  • The Founders' Award (chosen by COO Steve) went to Tim, Tom and Jason for their work on "Gamification" of the WLD site to encourage members to interact more with the system and each other.
  • The People's Choice Awards (chosen by vote from all participants) was an incredibly close thing, with three teams within a single vote of each other. In the end, the prize went to Paul, Kris, Pete and Keith for the new instant messaging system they built which tied in to our existing notification bar.

We'll have a full write up of all the hacks available on Monday, but it's been another fantastic day, with some great ideas which get further scrutiny by the business and which may turn in to official projects and site features.


About the Author

Tim Blair

Tim Blair is the systems architect for Venntro, and holds the coveted position of Committer #1 to our WhiteLabelDating platform. He can often be found chasing pieces of plastic around a field for the GB Ultimate team, or charging around the countryside by foot, bike or boat on an adventure race.