It’s Hacking Time!
The winning entrepreneurs from CodeLaunch VI were each rewarded with a three-day hackathon to give their startups a huge push forward in developing their business. The goal of each hackathon — performed by each company’s expert architects, designers, and coders — took place soon after following their victories at the CodeLaunch event.
Before we talk about the hackathon, a bit about KidStrong:
It’s all about the kids
Kidstrong — a comprehensive child development program that focuses on strengthening the athletic ability, character, and mental development of kids — is led by Frisco-based entrepreneurs (husband-and-wife team) Matt and Megin Sharp.
“We’re absolutely thrilled and honored to be named a CodeLaunch winner,” said Matt Sharp. “We want to ensure we make the most of this incredible opportunity.”
Megin noted that “it’s all about creating the most impact. Whatever’s best for the kids, that’s where we focus our attention.”
So two days after CodeLaunch VI, the KidStrong team arrived at Code Authority for their hackathon beginning Thursday, August 2 — ready to make the most of their reward.
Get input, create plan, set goals
The CA team met with Matt and Megin to gather requirements and determined that the KidStrong web portal and mobile app would be the deliverables.
“Our goal was to create something useful, fun, and simple to use for all admins of all ages,” says Giorgi Tediashvili, Senior Software Developer at Code Authority. “We took a close look at the functionalities and requirements to make sure we didn’t waste time on features that wouldn’t fit in our time-frame.”
“Everyone agreed to keep it simple, so our dev team could put it all together quickly, and KidStrong would have something usable right away.”
The overall solution — using a stylized form with clear, color-coded buttons to enhance usability — meant finding the balance between implementing what “looked good” and what was “functional.”
This laser focus and simple solution meant that the team could cut the scope to a two-day deliverable and give the Sharps and the KidStrong team just what they needed!
It’s all in the (technical) details
For those readers who want to know all about the back end, here’s the basics of what the Code Authority team used to create their deliverables for KidStrong:
- Hosted in Azure API Apps
- Data stored in Azure SQL Server
- API served by OData
- Application monitoring via Application Insights
- Developed in NET Core 2.1
- Used Xamarin technology (which enables a “Develop once, deploy everywhere” kind of capability)
- This technology made it possible for the CA team to develop for IOS, even though the team didn’t have much iOS experience
- It will then be easy to deploy for Android in the future requiring the team only to import resized assets
The mobile app for all kinds of users
Matt and Megin wanted a design that would appeal to adults — since they’d mostly be the ones using it — but also kid-friendly if they were holding the device.
This meant truly living up to the “Keep It Simple” philosophy, which led to an engaging, colorful interface which is easy for users of any age to navigate, as well as including large, easy to identify “call to action’ (CTA) buttons.
The team that made it all happen
By Saturday, the Code Authority team had exceeded expectations with the portal. According to project manager Christa Holt, “QA gave lots of credit to the devs, who worked hard to finish by 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.”
One of the biggest contributors was web developer Moisés Colón Ponce, who helped work on the portal while the app was being developed. Moisés helped make it responsive to smaller window sizes, and was a big reason why the team only had one specific issue (with the Safari browser) remaining at deadline
“The key with this kind of work is to use the time allotted efficiently and to minimize any potential wasted time,” continued Holt. “It also means having everyone come together as a strong team that helps each other whenever and wherever needed — and we did exactly that.”
(from left to right: Christa Holt, Lead Software Developer; Giorgi Tediashvili, Lead Software Developer; Leonardo Acosta, Software Developer; Cody Hardi, Lead QA Engineer; Jonathan Okon, Creative Designer)
Positive results for KidStrong
The Sharps were thrilled at the deliverables from Code Authority — a functioning web portal and a prototype app (developer version).
“It was a great experience, and the team was awesome,” says Megin. “They were able to get a tremendous amount of work done in a short time!”
Matt agrees: “We have a lot to go off of. We’re going to start inviting beta testers this week to the prototype. It’s a big chunk of what we need to really launch KidStrong to the next level.”
For the Code Authority team, the hackathon was extremely rewarding as well. “At the end of the day, this product is to help the kids gain essential mental, physical and character skills,” says Jason W. Taylor, president and co-founder of Code Authority.
“It’s gratifying for all of us to know that the software we created in just 3 days will play an important part in the lives of kids all over the world as KidStrong grows into a nationwide brand.”