Have you ever been to a hackathon? If not, this is how it goes: you have an abnormally short amount of time to come up with an idea, develop it, present it, hopefully win the whole thing, and take home an awesome cool prize. In this story, there were three Oculus Rift sets.
A few months ago, we were working on a customer’s site in Denver, a beautiful city with a creepy blue horse, when we heard that Capital One, a financial services company, was hosting a 24-hour hackathon at one of their local cafes. Since we had some time to spare before heading back to Atlanta, we thought “After a week of work, what could be more fun than a coding marathon?” I’m sure there a lot of things, but nothing came to our minds at that moment.
Implementing APIs: The Million-Dollar Idea
Capital One had recently launched three new public Digital Identity Services APIs and was organizing hackathons all over the country to find creative ways to use them. These are really cool APIs, too. They allow people to sign in, sign up, and verify their identification using Capital One accounts.
This was not our first hackathon. We’ve even been called “hackathon enthusiasts.” So, we had a system. The premise? Learn how to manage your time. If you have 24 hours, you just need to divide the time equally for each one of the hackathon phases—idea, development, presentation. It’s pretty basic, right? But, if you’ve ever been to a hackathon, you also know that a system doesn’t always work quite like it should.
We had our mindset. No one would sleep until we had the idea that would revolutionize the world of online identity verification—or close to that.
The Capital One APIs opened an ocean of possible solutions. From an app that gives permission to pick up your kids from school, to authorizing a person to control the air conditioner from a distance, the sky was the limit! But we soon realized that picking someone else’s kids up from school could have legal ramifications, and authorizing someone to control the air conditioner wasn’t the most useful app in the world… And that’s when we entered the dark place of hackathons. It’s a fun area, where despair, desperation, and hopelessness take place, and our flawless system goes down the drain.
After a few cups of coffee, lots of cream, psychotic laughter, depression, and a youtube spiral, we had it: what about a mobile application that authorizes a third party to act on your behalf? Like, let’s say, picking up your clothing from the dry cleaner?
Once we had the idea, all that was left was to build the entire mobile app! So, we went to sleep because everyone knows how bad all-nighters are for your body and mind.
On Behalf Of
At 8:30 AM, we started coding. By 1:30 PM, we had the app set and running and spent the rest of the afternoon fixing minor bugs and preparing the demo.
On Your Behalf is a mobile and web app integrated with multiple APIs from Capital One, including “Sign Up,” “Verification,” and “Sign In.” It also uses Message Queue Telemetry Transport (MQTT) for real-time communication between mobile devices. This is how it works:
Now, you may be thinking, “How did they do all this in just a few hours, and with plenty of time to grab a decent lunch?” Easy. We used the OutSystems low-code platform. And we won, by the way.
After 24 exciting hours, we went back to Atlanta with three new Oculus Rift sets and had some fun with them.