Hacketse XXV: One Simple Trick To Winning a Hackathon
At K15t there is a phrase you’ll hear during idle discussions at the end of meetings or at the coffee machine: “That would be a good Hacketse project”.
And that’s just what we do! When a creative idea forms but we don’t have time to put it together, we slot it into the memory bank and resurrect it in time for Hacketse.
What is this Hacketse I Hear So Much About?
For those new here, Hacketse is K15t’s internal 24-hour hackathon. Teams of up to three people work on a bright idea they’ve been brewing in the back of their minds, and then present the project to their colleagues. This could be anything from the prototype of a new app, redesigning parts of our existing intranet, or implementing something new at our Stuttgart office.
Past wining projects have ranged from building a spell-check app for Confluence, redesigning how we present profiles for everyone internally, to crafting personal wooden boxes where people can drop gifts for those working remotely.
Speaking of remote work, don’t think of Hacketse as a bunch of programmers, writers, and designers sitting in a single office after dark, eating pizza, and frantically compiling code. That may have been what it looked like back in 2014 during the first Hacketse, when K15t consisted of little more than 15 employees.
But this is Hacketse number 25. The company and the landscape around us has changed. K15t has employees spread across multiple cities, countries, and continents. It’s still programmers, writers, and designers eating pizza and frantically compiling code, but now only a handful of people are in the Stuttgart office. People are eating pizza and coding from their homes in Munich, Portugal, Netherlands, and even the US. All with the goal of stamping their name on the prestigious (and shockingly heavy) Hacketse trophy.
What’s Been Cooked Up by the Brilliant Minds at K15t?
So, what did the teams that competed in Hacketse #25 cook up? Well, the people who work on our popular Confluence App, Scroll Viewport, had been tinkering with the idea of implementing a glossary into the app’s functionality. Max, Robert, and Sven used Hacketse as the ideal opportunity to start putting together a prototype.
Fabian and Riku had a much crazier idea for Scroll Viewport. You know how the app lets you publish your Confluence pages to an online help center? What if it could publish pages from another content management source like Notion.so? Rebuilding the app in an entirely different ecosystem sounds crazy, but within 24 hours the pair had built a working prototype that could publish Notion pages as an online webpage.
Hackers Hate Him! One Neat Trick to Winning Hacketse
Neither of these projects took home the trophy though. You see, there are a few tricks to winning Hacketse, and programming guru Christoffer Bromberg won the very first Hacketse back in 2014, so he knows what it takes to win.
Christoffer wanted a way to test his code for Confluence Cloud apps without needing to connect to Confluence Cloud, and Hacketse was the perfect opportunity for him to build that tool. Dubbed his “Mocktail”, it mocks what the app’s code would do in Confluence Cloud without having to upload it to the cloud every time to see if it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.
It’s shockingly simple and very effective at what it does. But with such stiff competition, he busted out his secret weapon: A guitar!
One swift musical number later, with lyrics all about the ingenuity of his Mocktail, and the crowd voted for him to take home the trophy. Plus his Mocktail has already proven to have genuinely useful applications for the Scroll Viewport team.
At K15t, one of our values is to Have Fun Seriously. Hacketse is very much for fun and for experimentation, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity to work on that one thing that has been bothering you but you couldn’t find the time to work on otherwise. It’s part of how we make great better!