Hackathon delivers again

On 18-10-2017
Category: Blog, Diversity, Culture, Development, Events

Hackathon delivers again

The 9th edition of the bol.com internal hackathon was held on Friday, October 6th, and participants were able to present their projects to the colleagues last Thursday.

“The Routine”

The 9th edition of the bol.com internal hackathon was held on Friday, October 6th, and participants were able to present their projects to the colleagues last Thursday. Even though hackathons have basically become a matter of routine inside the company, the amount of enthusiasm, creativity and passion on display during each one is always great to see. That’s the reason we keep organizing them. That, and the fact that they never fail to deliver projects and ideas that eventually make it into production. In fact, one of the participants noted during his presentation on Thursday that his hackathon project was already on production. Now that’s a quick turnaround.

Highlights 

Here are some highlight from the projects that people worked on during this hackathon:

  • One participant brought a novel approach to a problem that lots of hackathon projects have taken a crack at: gift selection. If you’re looking for a present to give someone you’re always spoilt for choice with the assortment of over 15 million products that we sell at bol.com. Choosing a relevant gift can be difficult, but this particular project combined Python, big data and product sales figures, along with some smart filtering, to provide an always-up-to-date list of gifts appropriate for any occasion.
  • One team, with an unusual but awesome total of 9 members, made a brave attempt to create the One True Dashboard. Our IT landscape is run using various different tools and it can sometimes be difficult to find the right place that has the information you need or the functionality you require (deployments, building, logsearch etc). And as the answer to all IT problems is another layer of abstraction, the team created a dashboard that allows you to access all information and functionality associated with particular service in our landscape in a few easy keystrokes. They’d put a significant amount of work into the frontend (also something that is not usually done during hackathons) so the demo elicited an impressive amount of “oohs” and “aahs” from the audience.
  • Another team experimented with running the Zalenium, a project that aims to make running distributed Selenium easy. Zalenium hits the sweet spot in terms of a bunch of technologies that we’re heavy users of here at bol.com: Selenium, Docker and Kubernetes. A successful demo had some of the people who are currently responsible for running our large fleet of Selenium VM nodes watering at the mouth at the idea of being able to run tests on shared infrastructure using distributed container scheduling.
    As stated above, this was the 9th internal bol.com hackathon. The next one is number 10, so we’ll work hard to make it special. It’ll happen somewhere towards the end of December, so stay tuned for a new report about the cool projects that’ll be developed then!