Tapad Hackathon Fall 2016: The Culture Edition

Late last week, we hosted our fall hackathon at Tapad. This time, our theme was “culture”, meaning we challenged our engineers to think of something that would help build community here at work. While we love our current dynamic, perks and social activities (e.g. free breakfasts, running club, etc.), we wanted to see what our engineers could hack to make it even better.

With 14 participating teams, it’s safe to say we saw A LOT of great ideas (see all of them via our Twitter, here). From building games that encourage people to collaborate, to slick apps for scheduling lunches and getting to know others, it was hard to pick the overall winners, but the judges conferred and here are the winners!

Most Engaging: Hive

Yury Skobov, software engineer, created an online version of the tile game Hive. In addition to making the game digital, he added features to make it collaborative among multiple players. This means that you can team up with other employees to strategize your next moves and collaborate to out-maneuver the opposing team. The prototype is a simple HTML and Javascript UI that drives RESTful APIs provided by a Play! server. The game state is stored in MySQL as a ledger of moves, allowing replay. The judges found the game’s concept to be easily addictive and thus successfully encourage employees in offices all over the world to collaborate and compete (in a good way, of course!) with one another.


(from top to bottom) Yury Skobov presenting Hive and screenshot of the game

Most Useful: Ghostbusters Project

Winner for "most useful" went to senior software engineer, Oleksii Iepishkin’s, "Ghostbusters Project". Using technologies such as Scala, the Play HTTP client, and the Play JSON library (to name a few...), the project helps find any discrepancies in Tapad's Mesos clusters regarding what has to be running and what is actually running. Once it finds any orphan or ghost Docker containers, it notifies OPS so they can find where the ghosts are coming from. It also finds Docker images that are used to run tests in our staging cluster but are forgotten by their owners. From there, it notifies container owners or can automatically clean-up unused containers. To create as a standalone app, Oleksii used Jeff Olchovy's (also a software engineer at Tapad) giter8 template.


Oleksii Iepishkin presenting The Ghostbusters Project

The Tastiest AND People’s Choice: Lunch Me

Since there were several meal-focused ideas, our judges created a new category -- "The Tastiest" -- with the win going to Lunch Me. Created by Shawn Simpson (data scientist), Mike Palma (software engineer) and Vanya Chary (software engineer), Lunch Me is a web app -- built with Python, AngularJS -- that helps you easily set up a lunch and meet new people. 

How it works? Before 11 a.m., you sign up in the app and enter basic information such as what time you want to grab lunch, the floor you're on, food preferences (including whether you brought food or want to eat-in at a restaurant), and preferred group size (max of 4). After 11 a.m., when all entries are submitted, the app automatically matches you with others who have similar availability preferences and takes into account information like what floor you are on (e.g. tries to match you with folks on different floors so you get to know new people!). Once the group is set up, the app even sends out a calendar invite to each person! Overall, the judges loved the UI and its potential to help build a stronger community at Tapad.

Not only did Lunch Me win over the judges, but fellow employees also saw its value and gave it their votes, winning Lunch Me the “People’s Choice” award as well.



(from top to bottom) Lunch Me creators Mike Palma, Shawn Simpson, and Vanya Chary and the Lunch Me webapp

We have a brilliant and growing engineering team at Tapad, and we make it a priority to have events, such as hackathons, to show off their skills and ideas. If you’re interested in being a part of our team, check out our job openings here!