Inspiration

Sometimes, we feel down. Whether it's bad weather, bad people, or simply a bad day, there are only a couple things in life that can be guaranteed to lift moods. Chocolate can't be summoned immediately via laptops, airplane tickets to Disneyland are expensive, and we couldn't figure out a program in under 4 KB to boost our GPAs. So we came up with CatCaller, a simple, instant,and convenient mood booster.

What it does

Instead of sliding down the dangerously slippery slope that is Google Images "cats", just click the cat on your toolbar. Take a moment to relax and laugh at the guaranteed hilarious cat gif, and continue on your tasks without losing momentum. Need a bit more cat in your life? Click for more! When you're satiated, simply click out of the popup.

How we built it

We knew we couldn't be the only ones out there obsessed with cats, so looked for an API that would get the cat images for us. Thanks to http://thecatapi.com/, we were able to retrieve random cat GIFs at the click of our button. The Chrome extension requires a manifesto.json, an html file that displays the GIFs and button, and Javascript code to implement the button.

Challenges we ran into

We got the program to work in a browser relatively early on, but the real struggle was getting to work on in a chrome extension. Debugging was extraordinarily painful (Huge shoutout to the wonderful engineers at Datto who spent literally hours refreshing cat GIFs as they tried to help us making a working button), but eventually, we got working code. We're still not sure exactly what we were doing wrong, but we know what the right thing is!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

This is our first hackathon, and first experience with programming that doesn't involve a homework assignment or Khan Academy's programming environment. To be honest, we're pretty overjoyed that we managed to create something we could submit. We're especially proud that we stuck through learning the very basics (so much StackOverflow!). Everyone always talks about how the learning curve is steep but worth it, so we're glad we finally sat down and started trying to make our project. We know it was small (literally 3KB), but now that we've had a taste, we feel more prepared to tackle something bigger.

What we learned

Picking up a programming language is really hard. We definitely overwhelmed ourselves in the beginning, switching between about 3 languages, 4 ideas, and 25 tabs. We learned to be patient with each other and our code, as both of us were novices. We learned to ask for help from the internet and people at YHack. Most importantly, we learned that Chrome extensions do not support in-line JS.

What's next for CatCaller

CatCaller started out as a joke, but we actually think that with a bit more work, the concept could be turned into a real mood-booster. We're thinking of an extension that lets you upload an album of pictures that make you happy. Clicking an icon on your toolbar would bring up a random picture from that album in a popup window, thus providing a small pick-me-up without interfering with productivity.

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