Timeline Spotlight - Hackawatch
Hackathons are packed with tutorials, tech talks, and demos, and it’s simple for important activities to sometimes slip through the cracks. However, thanks to Hackawatch, Pebblers will never miss an event at a hackathon again! Hackawatch is a Pebble application created at LA Hacks that allows hackathon organizers to push pins to hackers’ timelines to notify them about important events.
- Who: 3 Arizona State University students: Jack Ketcham, Tim Kaing, and Tim Horng.
- What: Hackawatch, a Pebble application that allows hackathon attendees to see important events during the hackathon on their timeline.
- Where: LA Hacks
- When: April 3rd- 5th
- Why: The team is going to be organizing their own hackathon during the fall of 2015, Desert Hacks, and thought it would be a useful application to have in place during their event.
- How: Using the guides, documentation, and blog posts online!
Q&A with the Hackawatch Team
We recently talked to these first time Pebble hackers, and got their story.
How did you get started with your project?
When we started setting up the project and needed to learn more about developing on the Pebble, the first place we went to was Pebble's developer site, and we looked through the relevant documentation for Pebble C and PebbleKit JS, as well as the guide for the timeline. In addition, we found the Pebble examples on GitHub to be very helpful, both the regular Pebble C examples and the new timeline examples.
Why did you decide to use the timeline interface?
We decided we wanted to use the timeline interface because we felt it was exactly what we needed to solve our hackathon event feed problem for attendees, and also because we found out about it through all of us pre-ordering the Pebble Time. We thought it would be great to build something we would be using ourselves in just a couple months. Not to mention, we also thought it would be the best thing to hack on since it's one of the newest API features and something that all Pebble watches would have eventually anyway.
Which frameworks did you use for your project?
I used the native SDK emulator on my MacBook Pro to test out the app as we were developing it, and we used PebbleKit JS running on the user's phone to retrieve the user's timeline token as well as our own NodeJS API. Further, we would send HTTP requests to our API, sending along the user's timeline token and their preferences for what they wanted to subscribe to so we could use the pebble-api-node module on our end.
Also, when I was working on implementing the pebble-api-node module in our backend, I also found some missing API functionality. At the hackathon, I was able to add the functionality (deleting user pins) with appropriate tests and submitted a pull request, which got merged in shortly after the event!
What was the hardest part about making the app?
I'd say the hardest part about developing the app was ramping up on the Pebble C library for creating the user interface on the Pebble, because it was a new API for us and none of us had any prior experience writing C. Again, to combat that, we looked at the available documentation and examples, and also got help from the Pebble Engineers that were on site throughout the hackathon (they were awesome!).
What was your favorite part about making the app?
I’d say the best part about developing this app would be gaining experience developing on Pebble's newest API. This is the next big move for the company and for the people that own these watches, and being able to be a part of that and show what we can make with the new functionality is really amazing.
Hackathon organizers, take note! The story hasn’t ended here for Hackawatch. The team is going to continue adding functionality to their app: soon, they want to have an RSVP action for certain activities or tech talks. Their ultimate goal is to make it as easy as possible for any other hackathon organizers to fork the project into their own repo and adapt it for their event.
Inspired to Start Hacking on Pebble?
Follow the Hackawatch team’s lead and hack your heart out! We have tons of guides and documentation online that are perfect for first time hackers. If you want to share your project, enter it into the Timeline Challenge! For the next twelve weeks, we’re going to be giving out free Pebble Times, swag, and prizes, so fire up CloudPebble and hack away!
Want to Hang Out with Pebble?
If you’re going to be in San Francisco next week, come to our Meetup! We’ll be talking specifically about timeline and all the cool features that come with it. Otherwise, keep an eye on our Events page to figure out where we’ll be soon. We have a busy few months coming up, and want to see as many Pebblers as possible. We can’t wait to meet you!
- Q&A with the Hackawatch Team
- Future Steps
- Inspired to Start Hacking on Pebble?
- Want to Hang Out with Pebble?
- All Posts
- At the Pub
- Beautiful Code
- Down the Rabbit Hole
- Freshly Baked