UB Hacking 2014

Earlier this month University at Buffalo’s ACM Chapter hosted a 24-hour hackathon. With a project deadline looming at the same time, we were in a dilemma as to whether we should participate in it or not. When we saw that the registrations were still open, we quickly went to Davis Hall and registered ourselves, albeit a few hours late.

We sat and brainstormed for a couple of hours on what to hack on and decided on creating a task splitter & scheduler that would take a list of recurring tasks for a particular group of users and splits each task among the members and automatically schedules it for each user. We started off setting up the development environment and started building the application using Ruby on Rails. All of us were ‘relatively’ new to Rails and wanted to take it up as a challenge. By the time we got started it was already late in the night.

Unfortunately for us, a couple of critical issues came up in our academic projects that needed immediate attention and two of us started hacking on those fixes instead and returned to the web app by early in the morning.

We had the initial authentication, forms etc setup and a basic splitter and scheduler written. We then made use of the IceCube gem that provides for easy schedule expansion and ICUI for date-picker options in the web browser. We did some more last minute hacking and deployed the incomplete app in Heroku. Overall, it was a great learning experience for us, despite not coming up with the complete application within the 12-14 hours.

PS: The winning hacks were a Ad-hoc MapReduce over Bluetooth application and a hardware hack that alerts a user whenever a book is removed from a bookshelf.