HackDay 6 – Hack-o-we’en roundup


Last Friday saw another 24-hour coding-fest at Caplin HQ. All engineering staff were asked to form teams for a start on Thursday lunchtime and build something cool to demo on Friday afternoon. For a number of people furiously working on their projects, they decided to go through the night and use the full 24-hour slot to write code.

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Level-up Caplin

This HackDay the theme was “level-up Caplin” – build some software to make us better. A departure from previous hack days that had specific themes such as HTML5 or Mobile. It was intentionally left open to allow people to be as creative as they liked.

Teams were asked to do build a demo using the guidelines:

  • Make an idea for something we can put into our product set
  • Make something to help out with our hosted solution
  • Make a change in the technology we use
  • Do something cool for the office

This time we got in some extra games and treats to energise people during breaks – A dance machine, arcade motorbikes and a Jagermeister dispenser coupled with a lot of Red Bull and Pizzas.

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Jager-bombs looked like a very bad idea for getting a lot of code written late at night; with the Ballmer Peak being something completely made up by XKCD. However, it worked really well, added to the excitement and the results were a vintage HackDay with amazing effort put in by everyone. We had some fantastic outcomes – some we have to incorporate into the product, some of which were just plain fun.

Watch the video (5mins)

Here are the highlights

Caplin Tailor – A design studio for our FX application

Customise applications for your customer: Change the styles directly in the application, drag and drop a logo and you’ve got a new customer onboard. The beauty of this one is that you can submit it back to BladeRunnerJS and it can generate  a new deployment.

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Table tennis augmented reality

Yes really! These guys tracked ping-pong balls with Kinect and rigged a projector to show where it hit the surface. All done in real-time using a web page.

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News publisher

A browser based app that receives a number of news feeds and allows a bank employee to publish out trade ideas to client applications in real time. Both text-based news and embedded videos can be sent. Configurable actions can be taken from selecting the trade ideas – opening tickets or populating tiles so customers have a fast route to trade the ideas published.

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SMS publisher

With a lot of customers in emerging markets, being connected to a data-feed isn’t always possible. This project added the ability to use SMS to communicate with the Caplin Platform when a data connection isn’t possible. Text the Liberator to get latest news, positions and prices.

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Other notable projects were

  • A test framework that acts as a real customer and gives you data on their real perception of the trading app
  • Two-factor authentication for your desktop app using a mobile phone. Streaming a signature through a sequence of colours on the mobile.
  • A browser-based voice trading application
  • A CEP engine embedded in transformer

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With comments of “we want that now!” and “can we go and show our customers that next week” it shows that it was a great HackDay. The task now is to work out how to fit in all the good ideas with all the other product and solutions work going on. Watch this blog for some in-depth posts on each project.

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