I think it’s pretty safe to say that the developers who work at Agape Red, myself included, view the type of work we do as more than just a paycheck. Simply put, we love to code.

In mid October, three Agape Red developers and I spent the weekend competing in a hackathon. Contrary to what the name might imply, we didn’t tap into any bank records or share national security secrets. Instead, the hackathon challenged us to create a minimum viable product very quickly, without worrying about specific requirements, or other things needed to complete the larger-scale projects we build for work. When Zachary McKenzie, our team leader, introduced us to the competition he lead us off by saying we would not be writing automated tests while working on the project.

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Rails Rumble is a location independent hackathon. Teams of four from across the country were tasked with building a product, any product, in 48 hours. 7pm cst Friday through 7pm cst Sunday.

Our final product was a file sharing service called Woah.io. It allows users to transfer any sized file by dragging them onto a desktop online. Those files can be saved to our server, or if a user doesn’t want to sign up, the files can be transferred without touching our file storage.

Sleep was minimal, pizza and Monster were plentiful. For many of us, this was our first time competing in a hackathon. My teammate/coworker Vis sums up the experience well:

Taking part in a hackathon was awesome. Having never been through one before, and being new to the whole Rails game, I really didn’t know what to expect. I was fortunate enough to have teamed up with some of the greatest Ruby and Javascript developers I’ve ever met. There’s no doubt that they did the heavy lifting, but I learned more in those 48 hours than I could in a week. Their enthusiasm for producing something amazing was contagious, and did almost as much as the Monster and coffee to keep us focused.

I won’t lie, putting off sleep to work on the app wasn’t all fun and games. We quickly learned that the lack of sleep impacted our ability to focus and avoid simple mistakes, so we kept ourselves refreshed by taking power-naps, breaking for an episode or two of Archer, and even practicing our long-distance putting (that’s a golf thing).

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I found the experience very fulfilling; my teammates remained dedicated, patient, and light-hearted throughout the whole event, despite the pressure of delivering on time and the ever-increasing fatigue. I was very impressed to discover exactly how much can be accomplished when four individuals work together on a common purpose.

Did we win? No, we didn’t pull off winning this year’s Rails Rumble; but I got to work with some great people, on a great product, and ate pretty decent pizza. If that’s not winning, I don’t know what is.

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To see our finished project visit: www.woah.io

 

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