I design, I develop, I make


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

© 2024 Mubashar Iqbal

What can you build in 10 hours?

July 23rd, 2015

The results of an impromptu solo hackathon

Yesterday I sent out a congratulatory tweet to my friends Josh Muccio and Ben Tossell for topping ProductHunt charts on consecutive days.


I rather innocently asked if anyone I knew would make it 3 days.

Ben, Bram and Daniel suggested I should just go ahead and make another app and just do it myself.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to give it a ago. I was in the middle of my work day though, so I had to wait until I was done, and started working at a little after 6pm.

The first step was figuring out what to build. Given the time constraints, the options where limited, but I had this idea surrounding podcasts and people suggesting guests kicking around.

I had to decide if I could build it in the time I had. I decide to follow my own advice and whittle down the features to something I could manage.

I decided to use Twitter login for a couple of reasons: It gave me access to the identity of the person doing the recommendation and provided some social accountability. It also meant I didn’t have to deal with account registration, forgot passwords and all that other time consuming stuff.

I wanted to make it easy for people to add their favorite podcasts, without having to complete a million fields and upload graphics. To solve this I used the iTunes API, pulling as much data from the API and the RSS Feed for the podcasts, meant that I didn’t have to worry about people adding random URLs, iTunes will have done the validation for me. Now in just a couple of clicks people can add their favorite podcast.

Since I was already using Twitter for the login, it made sense to use the same identity when people made suggestions. So to recommend someone you use their Twitter handle. No need to make everyone register and verify who they are, Twitter to the rescue.

In about 7 hours I had the twitter login, podcast adding, people suggesting, and voting system built and working. I spent a couple of hours deciding on the design of the pages. Bootstrap game me a wonderful foundation for the project, and I just needed to clean things up a little.

Suggest a guest

The remainder of my time went to getting the project on to server for hosting. Since I built the website with Laravel framework, I used Forge to spin up a Digital Ocean droplet. I added the site, and linked it to my Bitbucket repo. All that was left to do was point the NameCheap DNS to the server.

Some QA, with a little help of friends in Europe who where just waking up (everyone in the US was sleeping off course), and it was time to hunt! Then to bed!

Suggest a Guest is live and on Product Hunt today, and is being well received, we are closing in on 50 votes.

Unfortunately it won’t be topping the chart like Ben and Josh did, but I had a great time building website, and hope that it will provide a lot of value to podcast hosts and listeners alike.