Mapping out the “Juiced or Not” app
Dan Arrington and Aaron Schwartz work out a database problem.

SEATTLE — Teamwork is one of the pillars of success in team sports. A quarterback needs his offensive line, the pitcher needs his catcher — you can’t win without your fellow comrades supporting you.

The same idea applies to hackathons and is something I witnessed first-hand on Day 2 of Sports Hack Day.

My team is building an app that shows side-by-side comparisons of football players today versus when they were in college. We’re seeing how much head sizes have grown, a telling sign of a performance-enhancing drug user. People can vote on whether they think the player is “Juiced or Not.”

There are lots of pieces to the development puzzle. Each team member is working on a different part of the app: the back-end server, the database, the front-end user interaction, the app logic, the content, etc., etc.

All those parts need each other to be successful. Without the front-end design work, the back-end labor is worthless, and vice versa. Several people work on the database, which is comprised of all sorts of different pieces that need one another.

Code, code, code…

We’ve been sitting at the same table for about 12 hours now. While there are some periods of hard-working silence, the communication has been excellent and efficient. My teammates are constantly asking questions to each other, finding out information that will help them with their own part of the project.

When we run into problems, something rather simple happens: we talk about it. People pitch in their ideas and thoughts, and a solution usually arises.

The team is also very open to teaching. Everyone has different amounts of experience with the tools we’re using — I have, like, none — and the amount of peer-to-peer instruction going on has been impressive.

Hackers took a “halftime” break with a little rock-paper-scissors competition.

I came here not understanding all the work that goes into programming an app. While the event is not quite over — demos and judging commence Sunday afternoon — I’m already more appreciative of what exactly computer programmers do for their projects and how they can work together as a cohesive unit, all sharing the same passion to build a great app.

I sometimes wish people understood how much work goes into some of the articles we post on GeekWire. It may take you just five minutes to get through a piece that took us ten hours to do the research, reporting and writing. That’s why it feels so good when positive feedback comes through — that’s when you know your work was worth it.

I’m quickly learning that it’s the same for apps — actually, this experience has actually helped me think about finished-work past writing, sports or computer development. Whether it’s a piece of art, a motion picture, a skyscraper, a smartphone, a shoe  — there is so much effort put into the things we use everyday that are often taken for granted.

It’s late now and everyone’s eyes are getting droopy. Time for some rest and we’ll be back at it tomorrow.

Previously on GeekWire: ‘Sports Hack Day’ Diary: Pitching ideas, picking teams and getting started on a football ‘PED or Not’ app

Comments

  • http://www.joulespersecond.com/ Paul Watts

    Joel Spolsky (of Stack Overflow and Trello fame) calls this the Iceberg Theory of Software: the user interface only accounts for the 1-10% of the iceberg that’s visible above water. But just like writing or film or any of the disciplines you mention, most people outside of the discipline don’t understand this.

    Thank you for sharing what’s happening at Sports Hack Day! It sounds like a fun time, I’m sorry to have missed it.

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