What’s innovative, collaborative, and only lives 24 hours? An Electric Cloud Hackathon!
In the past year, we’ve had three of them. People from all over the organization participate, and the only two requirements are:
- You must have more than one person on your hackathon team
- Your hackathon project should benefit users of our product
Recently we completed our third hackathon. Dev and QA engineers, UX designers and documentation teams, as well as Professional Services and pre-sales architects all took time out of their normal schedule to dive into a subject that they are passionate about, and what we ended up with are some amazingly cool projects.
What struck me most about this hackathon was the quality of the final products that emerged… these are some hard-core engineers working with some incredibly powerful APIs on a hardened platform. Some of the projects (in no particular order) include:
- Dockerized Flow: The ElectricFlow server and database components were packaged up as an easy-to-download-and-install Docker container. Another separate project allowed the automatic creation of these containers as part of our normal internal CI cycle and allows for a lighter, easier, cleaner upgrade path for these Dockerized Flow components.
- Flow Everywhere: iOS application that integrates directly into ElectricFlow and allows quick, convenient pipeline review and approval.
- ElectricFlow ExtraDashboard: Consolidates useful (and pretty!) real time and historical information into a single, user-friendly and easy to read dashboard.
- ElectricFlow SubEx: A browser-based text-editor command editor for Flow that allows you retrieve information and update commander jobs and properties in real time.
- Jeronimo: A self-service onboarding and training course to educate users on ElectricAccelerator to improve customer satisfaction.
- ITRS Geneos Plugin: Integrates this monitoring tool with ElectricFlow to allow Geneos to automatically monitor new deployed instances of any application in any environment.
- Automated Regression Test (ART): A tool designed to help our internal development teams get faster feedback by scoping down our full test suite to focus on a particular feature they want to test.
- ElectricFlow Feed: A dashboard activity feed that allows users to be notified of system news and/or items that are waiting for approval.
- Docs on Mobile: A project to make our documentation design more responsive so it renders more elegantly on various screen sizes.
- ElectricFlow + Perforce: This is the first time we’ve had a partner participate in a hackathon, and it was great – something we’d like to see more of moving forward. The integration they worked on allowed lighter-weight checkouts using p4clean to drastically accelerate builds.
- Ask Stuart: A machine-learning algorithm to help improve customer ability to find answers for frequently asked questions by matching up keywords and knowledge-based articles.
- Makefile Viewer: A utility that creates a dynamic webpage based on the contents, targets, and dependencies of a makefile.
- SplunkFlow: This plugin makes it easy to add ElectricFlow logs and data into Splunk, and then embed Splunk reports into ElectricFlow itself.
- CindyBot: Cindy is a developer at EC. She is also responsible for keeping tools up to date. But that takes a ton of time to roll those tools out into the 12 different windows snapshots we need as build/test targets (up to a day). CindyBot automates that work for us, and now it will take about 30 minutes. So, now we expect to see a lot more code from Cindy!
- DSLIDE: Provides an interactive IDE with coloration, auto-completion and code samples that makes it easy to create and test code created using our new Groovy-based domain specific language.
- ElectricFlow Full Text Search: This project uses Hibernate to allow users to find a text string anywhere in the ElectricFlow server environment.
In addition to getting ‘mad props,’ the first place team splits a $2,000 prize, and the second place team splits $1,000. The judges are tallying the results and we will be announcing winners this week.
From a company perspective, this investment (“time off from regular job,” + pizza + drinks + prize money) yields an incredible amount of excitement, and creative innovation. Over the three hackathons we’ve had, much of the work has made its’ way into our product development pipeline for a formal feature release moving forward.
Based on the awesome results from this hackathon, we’re working on finding a way to safely provide the results of these hackathons to the broader community for them to play with. If you’re an existing customer and are interested in any of these, drop us a line.