I design, I develop, I make


A maker based in Upstate New York.
Turning ideas into applications.

© 2024 Mubashar Iqbal

Building 3 apps at a 24h Hackathon

November 6th, 2018

This weekend was the first Hack Mohawk Valley hackathon.

I had planned to participate at the hackathon but when the organizers asked me to judge the competition and mentor the other attendees I was happy jump at the chance.

Rather than just hang around for the hackathon though I decided to challenge myself…

Lets build 3 apps in 24 hours!

What?!? No I’m not crazy just like pushing myself.

Normally I work in a team, which can slow things down, and when you’re trying to win a competition you start thinking about the competition, not making things. As I was a judge and ineligible to win any prizes I could just focus on making things.

Although the hackathon last 24 hours, and we got an extra hour due to the clocks going back for daylight savings, I did get a few hours sleep and spent some time talking and helping the other attendees. I’d guess I ended up having about 18 hours of actual hacking time, about 6h for each project.

I’m pretty happy with what I was able to make in the time I had.

I’m going to be publishing detailed posts about each project when they launch officially but wanted to summarize my hackathon adventure here.

I had hoped to live stream hacking, but the bandwidth at the venue prohibited that. I did however publish a tweet chain as I went.


I was so excited about the hackathon, I made many typos!

The plan

Since I was trying to ship a lot, yes even I admit it was going to be a tough one, I wanted to make sure to set myself up for success.

Hackathons can be a great opportunity to learn something new, but my focus was on shipping, so I decided to stick with what I knew best.

What did I build?



Like a lot of other people I’ve been interested in cryptocurrencies for a while, and I have a Coinbase account. I was getting a tired of logging into my account to check the balance of my accounts and their FIAT value. This process can be made more cumbersome due to the 2FA requirements to log into Coinbase.

I knew Coinbase had an API, so I decided to build a website that allows a user to connect their Coinbase account and then on a daily basis emails them a summary of their balance and value of the holdings. Balance only has read only access to the Coinbase account, so there is no security concerns.


Side Project Name


I struggle (like everyone else I’m sure) to find a good name for my projects that is available to purchase as a domain, and has a good available handle on the popular social media sites.

Although I was only able to build the basic features of the longer term vision, an easy way to test the availability of many TLD’s and Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts, I have many idea’s moving forward to extend what Side Project Name is able to do.


Developer Deals


With Black Friday rapidly approaching I wanted an easy way to collect and share the many deals that will be available for developers during the holiday sales.

Since this is primarily a content site, I took the opportunity to use Twill to build a custom CMS to manage the information about the deals. Something that could normally take an entire hackathon was accomplished in a couple of hours. I could have used something like Wordpress to build the site, but since Twill is a Laravel package, it leaves me free to build the website as I want and to extend the site in much more systematic way in the future.

Lots of deals to find and publish here, but very excited to see this grow.

Working solo certainly made working quickly easier, there was no time used to get on the same page, and co-ordinate working on the projects. Being a full stacker developer makes this possible.

I highly recommended being a jack of all trades for anyone that wants to ship things quickly. You can always circle back to projects after building them to pull in experts to help add polish to certain parts.

All in I had a great time at the hackathon, you can see what other people created on Devpost.

I look forward to moving these projects forward, and the next hackathon!