The CloudAnswers open hackathon

At CloudAnswers we’ve been having 24 hour hackathons on a monthly basis for almost a year. It has proven to be a great way for developers to take a break from the normal customer projects, learn new technologies, and solve problems that affect many of our clients. And now several of the previous hackathon apps are going through the Salesforce security review process and will join our other AppExchange Apps online!

Now that we’ve run this successfully internally, we wanted to invite others from outside the company for fresh ideas and to make it more fun and engaging. So we set up a website and invited some colleagues to join us in seeing what can be created. For the month of December, developers from around the world joined in on our Open Hackathon to build Salesforce apps.

Teams were challenged to build apps according to the following guidelines:

  • Projects must be open source.
  • Projects must be related to Salesforce or use Salesforce technology.
  • Projects must be committed to GitHub so that we can verify that contestants complied with the project guidelines.

On Friday, January 4th we held our judging webinar. Contestants from around the world had 5 minutes to present their projects to the judges. The judging panel was made up of people with extensive Salesforce experience, including several Salesforce MVPs and people who have experience publishing apps on the AppExchange. Contestants were judged on the following criteria:

  • 25% originality: please don’t make a slightly better de-dupe tool. Let’s see some creativity.
  • 25% tech chops: are you a true hacker?
  • 25% polish: is it easy to understand and use, or does it have errors everywhere?
  • 25% business viability: is this a real product?

After seeing lots of great demos, the judges chose the following two projects as our first and second place winners, getting $1,000 and $500 in prize money!

First Place: James Sullivan, Org Health Check

James took first place with a comprehensive and super simple way to monitor changes to a Salesforce org. Using Amazon and JSforce, James created an app that anyone can sign up for in just a few seconds.

DB Saver Website

After they’ve given permission for the app to log in to their Salesforce org, the app will log in on a daily basis, run a variety of tests, and email the admin with important information about the security of their org.

Some of the various things that it monitors:

  • Where people are logging in from (to detect unexpected locations)
  • Newly installed apps (to monitor for unexpected installs)
  • Unit test failures (in case configuration changes broke your code)

Second Place: Avinava Maiti, Smart Alerts

In a very close second, Avinava created a system for admins to create record alerts for their users. Sometimes, a validation rule is just too much, and you want to allow people to save the record but still get a warning of sorts. Well, with Smart Alerts you can setup formulas that display warnings to the users, like when they don’t have a Next Step on an Opportunity or don’t have a phone number for a Contact.

Smart Alerts List

Using a custom object and a lightning component, Avinava built a system that will use lightning data service to evaluate formulas and display alerts to the user. The system is fully customizable and works on any object with a little bit of setup.

Smart Alerts

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