Nexmo Hackathon at PHP UK 2019

Published March 07, 2019 by Lorna Mitchell

At Nexmo, we are regulars at PHP UK. We’re often sponsors and our Advocates between them have been attending or speaking at the conference for most of the last decade. This year we were also ran the Hackathon Lounge, a space for developers to take some time during the event to collaborate on some coding projects.

The challenge was simple: build an application using Nexmo’s APIs, and try to incorporate some data about the event. The project offers an API and since the event had already entered its schedule data, this was already available to anyone that wanted to use it. We were looking for good ideas, a good presentation of the project, the technical execution of the project and also how the teams used the Nexmo APIs. With our hackathon space set up, we were ready to begin.

It was so interesting hearing what people were planning to build that we started giving out prizes to the best ones tweeted at us! A handful of microbits gained new owners (if we gave you a microbit and distracted you from what you had originally planned to build, we’re ~sorry~ not sorry).

Project Pitches

On the second day, a little over 24 hours after launching the challenge, we invited the teams to present to a judging panel of Lorna Mitchell from Nexmo, Gabriela D’Ávila Ferrara from Google and Bastian Hofmann from Syseleven. It was so impressive to see seven teams in total submit their projects for consideration and the presentations were great.

We had applications to send the conference schedule by SMS, or to contact conference organisers by a choice of email or SMS (for urgent issues). Another app took the schedule and allowed people to find other individuals interested in the same talk to give solo conference attendees a buddy for the talks they were interested in, which seemed like a great way to meet people at events. Using the talk data, there was an app that offered the ability to rate talks, similar to the existing functionality on itself but via Nexmo-provided SMS features which was a neat idea.

Two of the projects were so good that we ended up giving out a second set of prizes! One went to Daniel Platt and David Yell who built a really handy SMS reminder service that allowed you to select the talks you want to see at an event, and would then send you an SMS five minutes before reminding you which talk it was and how to find the right room for it. You can find the project here and we’d love to have this at all events to keep us organised 🙂

The main prize went to a project that made fun and engaging use of both the data and the Nexmo APIs—we especially enjoyed the demo! Will Newmarch and Danielle Vaulter built Rendezvous, a game that activates in the conference social slots. You send an SMS to start and then you chat with the application to join the game, describe yourself and are texted missions to find other people. The project is here and it would be a fun ice breaker for any event—the demo got most of the room involved and laughing.

Participation Means Prizes

As sponsors of the SunshinePHP elephpants, we had a few spare in our office and we awarded one to each developer that came and presented their project at the end of the event. A huge thankyou to PHP UK for having us as their Hackathon Sponsors this year, to our judges who picked the winners, and of course to everyone who took part! Here’s to many more successful hackathons in the future 🙂

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