My Hackathon Checklist

I recently attended the first-ever Startup Weekend Dublin FashTech. 54 hours to iterate a business idea that can hold up to the judge’s questions, concerns, and comments. This year’s event was held in the WeWork co-working offices and was sponsored by Bank of Ireland, Zalando, and Glohup.

Over the past few years of attending similar events, I have developed a base collection of tools to quickly and easily churn out a basic prototype for demoing. Here is my most recent stack.

Quasar Framework

Since I’m partial to Vue.js, Quasar is my favorite hybrid-app development framework. It’s a way to build out a responsive and pre-configured web app while simultaneously having the ability to use Cordova to transpile the Javascript into a native Android file.

For me, Quasar was also very useful because there was a complimentary app (Quasar Play App) that would let you emulate the app in real time on your device. After trying to use it this weekend, it turns out that it has not been updated in a while. There have been a number of improvements and updates to Quasar that now make it incompatible with the emulation app, so, for the time being, I had to settle for the Chrome mobile view.

Alternative: if you lean more towards Angular, you can use the Ionic Framework which also comes with an emulation app or React Native if that’s you’re flavor.

Airtable

The look and feel of a spreadsheet, the power and extensibility of a database. Airtable has become one of my most treasured tools of late. Since hackathon teams are diverse across skills, it gives everyone the ability to add, edit, and manage the data while giving the developers an API to query against.

I ended up talking about Airtable so much this weekend that my teammates began to think I was actually earning commission from it. Unfortunately, that is not the case, but I did receive an account credit when they joined using my invitation.

The SDK is extremely easy to use and build out a fully functioning backend that is more than equipped to handle a basic prototype.

Firebase

My favorite feature of Firebase is hosting. Since Vue.js web apps can be bundled down into a static website, Firebase hosting is the perfect option. It comes with automatic SSL certification so no need to worry about the browser throwing those pesky little security errors during the live demo.

I wasn’t concerned with getting user authentication working on this project, but if you were, Firebase comes with a user management system to take care of that. They offer a basic plugin that can be injected to get a quick and dirty integration working for the weekend.

The Firebase CLI is also a breeze and with a few keystrokes, you can have a live, testable version of your code on the internet.

Wrap It Up

At the end of the day, the motivation for these events is to learn something. In order to make the most of your time, use tools like these to cut down on the hassle of getting the site live so you can spend time on the fun part.