Hackathon 2018: Tuesday

7 minute read
Death march and lighthouse

It was an early 8am rise on Tuesday for the traditional mandatory ‘death march’ - a very definitely mizzly route of Simon’s choosing that took us along the coastal path towards Mevagissey.

Gravitywell team on the march

On our way back to the house, through fields and farmyards shrouded in fog, we managed to stumble across a little beachside cafe who kindly obliged our bulk Cornish Pasty order, while Luke helped himself to the free dog biscuits.

James (who is vegan) enlightened us to what goes into such a delicacy:

What's in a Cornish pasty?

Back, showered and ‘raring’ to go for a slightly later than usual morning standup at 11.30, we planned the day. Each day’s workload has been steadily getting bigger and more pressured, and we set some lofty goals for this one.

Standup

By the end of the day, James was planning on getting the video player component in to the client mobile apps, less UI styling - which Matt is working on today, along with the finished designs for the instructor app.

Sam intended to get all of the reusable components, like the video picker, built and ready to use.

George has been blazing through the various account creation / invitation / login workflows, and needs the time today to get that really locked down.

Henry was going to spend the day filling in the gaps in the backend, so all of the individual pieces can start talking to each other - instructor video uploads being available in the client mobile app, for example.

Jesus and Luke are still battling AWS to get videos transcoded into the right format for playback, served by CDN, and offering pipeline status to the apps so instructors can see video upload progress.

Jack was starting to put together a plan for a highlights video of the week. It’s photoshoot day for Simon and Laura, and we were reminded that we need to do another big supermarket shop in the afternoon as we’re running out of cheese and beer!

As the team cracked on, Jesus cooked Spanish omelette for everyone as a late lunch (3pm!), delayed because ‘some’ of the mix was dropped on the floor.

The Spanish omelette

Photoshoot #1

Flexing his creative muscles (but not in glittery spandex quite yet - that’s tomorrow, apparently), Simon got the lounge setup ready to shoot some photos of the ever-obliging Luke modelling as a client.

Luke modelling as a client

Shortly afterwards the set got moved up to the annexe, as we decided it could be made to look a bit like a Pilates studio. Laura, pretending to be an instructor filming and editing her own exercises on an iPhone, managed to make it very realistic and give us all a lesson in Pilates in the process!

Simon and Laura Gaku photoshoot

Jack was having fun running around with camera toys making a video about the week. The neighbour’s dog wasn’t so happy about the drone, though, and some seagulls were a bit confused. We’ve got a couple of hours of timelapses and footages so far though so hopefully enough to make a few minutes worth of watchable video at the end of the week.

7pm demo

The day quickly shot by and we reassembled in the lounge for a sum-up of the day so far. The pressure in the room was palpable, but it quickly became apparent that the results of the herculean push today were really rather impressive.

Matt managed to get through most of the UI design work for both the instructor and the client apps, so that Sam, George and James can start skinning everything tomorrow, right on schedule. In fact, the client app UI work was supplied halfway through the day, and as he shared his laptop screen with everyone, James revealed to a stunned group that he’d already implemented most of the designs. His daughter Rowan also made a surprise appearance, doing her interpretation of Pilates!

James uses a video of his daughter on the Gaku dashboard

Sam and George demoed the instructor app, which for all intents and purposes is starting to look really finished. Login is working, data is partly hooked up, search filters (a stretch goal) are in, lessons can be created and edited, videos uploaded, and even a slick little notification that the upload is complete when browsing elsewhere in the app. Unfortunately the almost non-existent internet connection at Admiral House is making testing a real drag, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt progress much. Next to do (likely continuing into tomorrow), is displaying existing videos and getting the profile page finished.

Luke & Jesus have had big problems with Amazon Media Services, that really need to be resolved before they become a major blocker. Everything was set up and working fine in the AWS Ireland region, but when moving over to the London datacentre things started to break for no obvious reason. Luke also managed to get the domain and SSL configuration all done and ready to go ahead of live deployment in a couple of days’ time.

Jack was still making timelapse videos - he was even filming the demo session.

Laura and Simon shared some of the results of the photoshoot today, and although still in edit the few we saw were right on the mark. It’s great starting to see the brand come to life.

Generally, the mood is good currently - there are not too many major tasks or blockers left, but it’s clear that come Thursday there is going to be a lot of little details that need finding and tightening up. There’s a positive vibe about hitting the deadline right now, but we know that realistically we only have 1 clear day left. Thursday will be reserved for testing, polishing, and deployment.

Overall, the progress so far really is mindblowing, given this is only the third full day on the project, starting from scratch - only two people in the room knowing anything about it at the start. We’re starting to see the power of the Gravitywell team when put to task!

To wrap up the day, Simon, Laura and James cooked a delicious Thai green curry along with fresh Vietnamese sprint rolls, complete with satay and sweet chilli dipping sauces. Jack set the table (while timelapse recording, of course) for a tired and hungry crew who quickly demolished the meal in grateful silence.

Thai green curry time(lapse)

It looks like the team have decided tonight’s the night for a late night development push, so remarkably after such a long day are heading back to their laptops until sleep can no longer be avoided.

Read more about Gaku and the Hackathon 2018