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Intouch Goes Two for Two In Midwest Hackathon with Winning App

Wendy Blackburn

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Twice, Intouch Solutions developers participated in a grueling hackathon competition. Vying for top place, Intouch developers lost sleep, skipped meals (and showers), and meshed together their brilliant brains to build the apps they hoped would win the hearts and minds of the judges.

And twice, Intouch Solutions brought home the win!

What is a Hackathon?

Held at the Google Fiber building in Kansas City, MO, Compute Midwest is a two day event (conference + hackathon) sponsored by Kansas City IT Professionals to create a platform for passionate, local developers to demonstrate their skills, meet fellow developers and possibly win some great prizes in the process! Often referred to as a “code fest,” hackathons are not for the faint of heart. Each team of developers, with a mere 24 hours on the clock, is challenged to conceptualize, design and build a mobile or web-based application on the fly. For those of us who are “code illiterate,” this is an extremely tight timeframe. The standard software project typically takes months to develop.

Intouch developer Abidur Rahman says, “Hackathons are a great way to feel challenged as a programmer. With 24 hours of programming and planning, it is a test of mental endurance. It is also a good way to meet fellow programmers and share interesting perspectives and ideas.”

Beacon Wins in Box API Category

In June, Intouch programmers won the Mashery API category with their app called “Make My Day.” This time, Intouch won in the “Box API” category. An API (Application Programming Interface) is how the software components communicate with each other. The Box API provides the capability to programmatically upload and download files. According to Rahman, Team Intouch chose the Box API “to store static resources. Using a cloud-based service like Box makes Web applications faster because these services are optimized for delivering content.” The application that Intouch built was called “Beacon” (below).

As described by the development team, Beacon is a different way to connect people with similar interests by encouraging real-world human interaction. Beacon allows people to broadcast or find activities, attracting people with similar interests.

Although there was no requirement for using any particular API, the team wanted to challenge their abilities and include as many sponsoring APIs as possible. In addition to Box, they incorporated several other APIs into Beacon to provide an overall better user experience. Singly was used for authentication with Facebook, Twitter and Google so that no site registration would be required. Twilio SMS and SendGrid were used to provide notifications to activity coordinators. Box was used as a CDN, along with Iron.IO cache, to provide a faster web experience. (You understood all that, right?)

“We felt choosing multiple APIs would showcase the uniqueness of our application,” Rahman said.

Apparently, the judges agreed.

Congratulations to the team (above) on another brilliant hackathon win!


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