2020? Yuck. Retro-Grator. It's the next best thing to a TARDIS
Retro-Grator Retro Style 1.0 Chrome Extension
Before Retro-Grator being applied
Pop-up toolbox ... "I'll take the 90's for $2,000, Alex" ... another reason to forget 2020
Oh yeah ... it makes you not mind "big hair" as much.
Hmm ... we need "The Imperial March" playing in the background ... possibly for Ver. 2.0?
... and, of course, GO GATORS!!!
Our 36-hour journey to perdition was paved with good intentions. We explored a solution that would be a new resource for wheelchair-enabled individuals and others with mobility challenges. Another possibility was a green project that would reduce both environmental and economic waste. At some point, though, we realized that like just about everyone else on the planet this past year, it would be nice to do something a little fun. That's when it struck us to do something in keeping with the Swamphacks' theme - Retro! Although the resulting product might be fun, the process of cranking it out in (less than) 36 hours turned out to be a real challenge (and fun).
What it does
Our RetroStyle project is a Google Chrome extension that empowers the user to transport a favorite website back to another place and time. A time before social distancing would be nice. We're just sayin'! Although the web page retains all its functionality, it is transformed into one of a choice of themes. The user might be into flamingos and have a pet alligator named Elvis. 80's theme! Perhaps a 90's theme is more the user's speed. There's a theme for Star Wars fans, or even minimalists who prefer the tranquility of a dark mode. Regardless, it has to be better than any 2020 theme, although there is a revert button just in case.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
Originally, we wanted to create a back-end database using Google's Cloud Firestore and Cloud Storage solutions since none of us had any significant experience with them. Although we found the initial setup extremely streamlined and headache-free, we ran into obstacles in getting it to integrate with Chrome extensions. Towards the end of the 36-hours, we started making headway, but by then, we felt it more important to deliver a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). Consistent with that overriding priority, after numerous hours of concerted struggles, we also tabled incorporating custom fonts. Can you imagine how sweet it would be for H1 headings to be in a Miami Vice font, though?
Accomplishments that we're proud of
What we learned
Each of us took something away from the experience. We definitely learned about new technologies that we had used for the first time, and even some that we didn't get to use. The journey also reinforced things we already knew, like that with hard work, determination, and a little ingenuity, anything is possible.
What's next for Retro-Grator
For us, definitely more hackathons! In addition to the drive to learn that is fueled by passion, having only 36 hours to learn something new makes for a great accelerant. In the meantime, we know we'll be further exploring all the technologies we touched this weekend and hopefully build on our MVP to produce a Version 2.0 that includes things like custom fonts and background music. Sonny Crockett would do no less (if he was a software engineer). Why should we?