Have you ever heard about Garage48? That’s an event, which was born in Estonia last year and since then widely adopted by other countries. It’s scenario is such – companies give tasks – “ideas” that have to be coded to production quality in 48 hours. Students are coming to the event and working 48 hours non stop, for food and beverages, and contest winner get’s iPhone.
So, you have an idea and iPhone – now 5 undergrads can make it live, just give them enough hamburgers and Red Bull.
When I heard about it (in the context that one of my colleagues was eager to participate) I wondered what these students would gain from the event? I mean – in my 32 I wouldn’t participate in such event, have no sleep in 48 hours and produce free code for someone. I still didn’t get convincing answer, but from the point of view of the author of “idea”, this is the windfall.
But I’ve got itch to see what am I capable to do in these 12 hours. Having totally nothing but “idea”.
So, I’ve replaced Red Bull with German and Belgian beer, wrote my idea in 3 sentences and sat for 12 hours with my notebook.
I decided to create “URL shortening service”, which had to be functionally better than anything else in the market. Better from my point of view, of course. As I thought about it, and that time was also included in these 12 hours, I wanted this service to have:
- WCF backend. So I would be able to create utilities that would add new links automatically, with no user interaction. Also that would allow other tools to use the service and provide additional services.
- I would have QRCode for each link. And it would be created automatically.
- I could protect link by CAPTCHA
- Or by password.
- Or require visitor to declare his age, in case link is to age-restricted web resource.
- And make links expiring – either by date or redirections count.
- Also, I would like users to know where they are redirecting to. But not always. So there would be 4 different ways of redirection. 2 for client and 2 for server side redirection.
- I don’t want to have malicious links on that service, so they should be automatically scanned. URLs leading to malicious web resources should be removed.
- Overall good web design. Because tinyurl sucks.
- Some functions should be only available to registered members, but anonymous could use it as well. However, trusted people would have it unlimited at all.
- Engine should be available to 3rd parties, so they could install it and use with their domain name.
That’s pretty much for 12 hours, when there is no base, right? That’s what we say to our customers.
Anyway, in 12 hours of work I had a website which had a name, web design, logo, backend, database, frontend and additional infrastructure up and running in test environment. Debugging it took another 2 hours, and deployment – another 30 minutes.
You can take a look at that service here – http://byte.lv – just make sure you understand it’s beta and some things may glitch. I reserve the right for a bug, yes. Anyway, if you’d like to have this engine working for your company needs – sure you can have it.
P.S. Now imagine having 5 developers working 48 hours - that’s 20 times more than I had!