Caffeine induced sprint coding, pushing digital frontiers in a span of 24 hours; Hackathons are quintessential to any geeks life. But what makes every hackathon so productive, is the collaboration between developers, designers and hackers. You get to learn stuff first hand from people who have such a diverse skill set and you get to contribute so much. The sheer joy of collaborating locally, over a cup of coffee, is unparalleled. This is the same spirit we hoped to spread with our app by connecting local developers and hackers. This led to the creation of hackMentor and hackFind.
How it works
In order to view questions and answers, one can simply visit the web app. But to take full advantage of HackMentor's features you have to create an account. It is a simple process which uses the geolocation API to get your location as well. After that you can start seeing how far other developers are from you and the kind of problems they encounter. You can help them out online as well as meet up locally and code. Allowing local developers to identify each other and to meet up to code are the core philosophies behind this app. HackFind was originally planned to be integrated into hackMentor, so that it would provide a database of hackers and help in the growth of users. An added advantage would be that it could be deployed for any hackathon and would allow the hackers to network with their friends from those hackathons. Only the latter was possible due to time constraints, but fear not, we will continue developing this into an awesome platform.
Challenges we ran into
We wanted to create a well developed and aesthetically pleasing application in less than 24 hours. So we did face quite a number of challenges. Managing data (user data, posts, comments etc.) via Mongo Collections and pulling them up with Meteor controllers was a daunting task. When we built HackFind, we also ran into some security concerns since we planned to deploy it to a server for hackIndia hackers to use. In the end we ditched some plans due to the lack of time, but we are really proud of the result.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Learning and using a relatively new framework. Creating a somewhat polished UI experience.
What we learned
Imagine big, start small, develop something awesome, don't stop.
What's next for HackMentor
We had quite a lot of features planned but had to ditch some due to time constraints like a rubber ducking feature, which is essentially like private messaging with support for Markdown and stuff, a real time list which shows the most active developers in your locality, integration with Google Maps API,Github API etc.