Our mobile app hackathon

New mobile app development projects have always gotten our team excited here at Maxxor, and our recent hackathon proved no different. And by hackathon we don’t mean sitting in front of a laptop in a dark, dank room profusely pushing keys to a screen of scrolling green and white numbers that looks like the matrix. Our hackathon was a team building effort, where for 24 hours all staff stopped their existing work to work on a single project together; where we would conceptualise, design and build a product in one day. Challenge? Not for the Maxxor team.

The day kicked off at 9:45am. Objectives were presented and tasks were outlined in order to meet these objectives and get the end product live by 10am the next morning. The brief was to create a native mobile app for Windows Phone 7 within 24 hours, after which the app would be submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace. We decided to create a mobile location-based application that enables mobile users to find places of interest that are in their radius by pinning their exact geographical location. It was interesting to see the list of original features the team came up with for the app. Unfortunately, quite a few features had to be discarded (for now) in order to realistically meet our deadline of one day.

The teams were provided with snacks throughout the day, to ensure they were well-nourished (and on a sugar high) in order to be wired in. The team was split into four sub-teams based on skills and interests:

  1. Product team – This team worked on defining the app, its features and capabilities. They were also involved in the testing phase on completion of development.
  2. Design team – The creatives were in charge of establishing the app’s brand identity and bringing to life the ideas that were pinned to the whiteboard earlier that morning.
  3. Marketing team – The marketing team would name the app, work with the design team to package it, get the app submitted to the Windows Phone Marketplace and to promote it on relevant media channels.
  4. Development team – Using Microsoft’s Silverlight technology alongside other Windows Phone 7 development tools, our developers had their work cut out for them.

By 11:00am we had a fully-fledged indication of what the end product should look like. Or at least, what it should be able to do; we left all branding elements up to the design and marketing teams, who by the end of the first hour had already mocked up a bunch of logos with the product name Sho’t Find. The name is a play on the “sho’t left” and “sho’t right” drop-off instructions heard in our South African minibus taxis on a daily basis.

It was a tough challenge, but by 5:00pm, just before supper was served, we had our final meeting for the day. By then, all the heavyweight work was already done and all that was left to do was fixing minor bugs before the Sho’t Find mobile app was ready for product launch. A special thanks to the guys who sat up until 10pm to finish the last bit of coding. And well done to everyone that made this happen.

You can check out the app in the Windows Phone Marketplace :

http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/apps/6642c250-6b94-49c8-bbae-4a411e330388

The members of the Maxxor team have decades of experience in designing and building technology solutions. Our regular hackathons help hone our technical skills and expertise. Check out other interesting projects in our mobile portfolio or contact us to discuss your mobile development requirements.