Last weekend, I attended LancerHacks, which was an in-person, 12 hour hackathon held at St. Francis High School. I teamed up with Shubham (@ShubhamPatilsd) and Gautam (@eternalmoon1234) and we created GeoChattr, a chat webapp that allows you to chat through drawings. GeoChattr also puts you into a chat room based on the city you're located in, allowing you to chat with those who are close by.
This was cool! I found Shubham because he was wearing a CodeDay hoodie1. The organizers talked about the schedule and events and stuff and there were speeches by Paula Golden2 and Prasanthi Sathyaprakash. Then we went to the main event venue to start hacking!
We had already brainstormed some ideas for the theme of Doodle the Future, and we decided to create GeoChattr. To get started, we needed to create a design. Taking inspiration from Paula Golden's speech, where she mentioned doodling on napkins, we decided to draw our design on a napkin instead of using a tool like Figma.
Despite the pen tearing the napkin, it was quite effective; 10/10, would recommend.
Then we started coding. I mostly worked on the frontend of the chat app, while Gautam worked on the backend and Shubham worked on connecting the two. Initially, the process went pretty smoothly; we chose a stack of
After dealing with some CORS errors and the school's wifi blocking railway.app, we were able to get chatting working. However, when we tried to integrate user authentication, we ran into lots of issues. We didn't know how to connect the sign in on the backend with the client on the frontend, and ended up scrapping the entire auth system and just storing usernames in localstorage. By that time, we were running short on time so we had to rush to finish everything up.
We also had problems deploying the backend; initially we wanted to deploy to Railway, however, it was blocked by the school's wifi. So we settled on putting it on Replit with Uptime Robot to ping the Repl and keep it awake. It was pretty slow, but it worked! And by the time we were scheduled to demo, we had a working and deployed webapp!
Throughout the entire day, there were speakers from various companies and other events going on. For the scavenger hunt, we were tasked with finding 3D-printed llamas and letters that spelled out Doodle the Future. Shubham and I went around the library and hacking area looking for them. We didn't find them all but it was still nice to take a break from hacking.
We barely prepared for the presentation, only outlining what we were going to say (inspiration, problems we faced, then a demo). I think our presentation went pretty well and the judges seemed engaged. We saw that almost every team had made a presentation, which we had not, so we were a bit nervous about that.
After we presented, there was some time for the judges to deliberate so Shubham and I went around and advertised CodeDay. People seemed pretty interested but we didn't get many signups 😢.
At the awards ceremony, I was super surprised to see that we had won third place! Afterwards, it was fun to check out everyone else's project on Devpost.
LancerHacks was definitely super fun; even though we were a bit rushed for time with our project, I had a great time actually meeting people irl. Thank you to all the organizers who made LancerHacks possible and Shubham and Gautam for being amazing teammates!
If you want to check out our project, links below: