Pratik Gadhiya
4 min readDec 30, 2017

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How my (silly) web-app won the second prize?

About Hackathon

The Hasura

The Hasura Hackathon was a five-day online hackathon which was focused on — the practicality of the idea and the implementation of the core kickass features of our app. Its usefulness to the end users from the very beginning was more important than the awesomeness of the app.

Motivation for Hackathon

In the afternoon, and I was about to take a nap that I received the mail from Tanmai Gopal for the Hackathon. At glance, I thought of NOT applying for it.

Why should I participate? I have no experience building cool projects. How can I compete with experienced programmers? A series of questions tried to convince me not to participate.

Short while later, the text in the mail reading, ‘most fun / silly app award’ caught my attention. Not to forget, the cash prize amount 🤑. In a glance, I made my mind to apply for the Hackathon.

Ideation phase

It took me the whole afternoon to figure out the project to build that would fetch me the fun/silly award. Many ideas flew by. But only one stuck — a simple web app that would feed users with humorous jokes.

“Okay. Okay. Hold on, dude. From where would you get jokes?”, my background Logic Processor interfered with the Idea Factory manager. “It’s not my job. I would suggest you to google it”, replied the manager.

A simple google search land me to the ICNDB website — the online Chuck Norris jokes database. The good news was that it provided API for fetching the jokes.

Development phase

For the next three days, from the morning I woke up till the time I fall asleep, I left the workspace just to have the meal and go to the washroom. About 16 hours every day, to build a simple website using HTML, CSS & JS.

Seriously.

I never build ANY project using HTML, CSS & JS before this Hackathon.

I learned JS and many CSS properties on-the-fly. With Stack Overflow being the savior.

Final project

I titled my project Laugh out w/ Chuck Norris. It is an entertaining web app which feeds users with humorous jokes revolving around the legacy of Chuck Norris.

The project was shortlisted as one of the top 10 projects. In the end, this silly, yet funny, project won second prize at the Hackathon! Team name — the_xplorer.

Features:

  • Single tap for a joke: With a single tap, the user gets a new joke.
  • Customize name: Customize main character’s name in the jokes.
  • WhatsApp share: One click WhatsApp sharing feature.
  • User Interface: I tried keeping the interface as simple as possible.
  • User Experience: Keyboard shortcuts, Auto clear content on focus, disable buttons while fetching, yellowish background color. These are small things that make our app lot more easy and accessible.
The final presentation explaining the all features

Check out the source code at this GitHub repo.

Lessons learned

  1. Hackathon is fun.
  2. Hackathon stretches our creative ends.
  3. Hackathon is learning new stuffs — learn by doing.
  4. Devise user-centric solution.
  5. Build MVP and then add-on features.

Key Takeaway

Participate in Hackathons, and experience them. They are a great way to extend your knowledge and show off your skills. During hackathon, build something that would help others. Give your best — learning is the product and winning is the by-product. At the end of the day, you receive cool prizes and swags.

Don’t miss to check out hasura.io — where you could build and deploy your applications in minutes. Special thanks ( and ❤) to Tanmai Gopal & team Hasura.

If you enjoyed reading this article, please hit the 👏 button in the footer so that more people can learn from this experience!

Pratik Gadhiya is a CS undergrad and design enthusiast with a love for competitive programming and algorithms. I love passing on my knowledge and getting my colleagues and friends on internet excited about programming and technology. Connect with me on LinkedIn or say hi on Twitter.

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Pratik Gadhiya

💅🏼 software developer, 🍥 design enthusiast, 💭 day dreamer,💡 ideator — https://pgxplorer.dev