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Team HashTap Blog

AnthonyMiddletonAnthonyMiddleton Posts: 106 admin
edited February 7 in Community Blog
This story was written by Aaron McCommon. Aaron and his teammates were winners at the HackArizona 2019 hackathon.

Team HashTap Blog

1st Place in the Hedera Hashgraph Micropay Challenge

Recently I was at the Hack Arizona hackathon with my brother and friends. All four of us have never been to one before and only two of us were computer science majors. My experience with coding began only a year ago with a class on C. Brendan, the other non-computer science member of the group has only had less than four months’ worth of experience! We intended this hackathon with the idea of it being a learning experience more than anything. Yet after the first set of workshops, we found ourselves almost bored. All four of us attended both of Hedera's workshops where they explained their decentralized ledger technology. Speaking for myself, I solely went because I thought it was interesting. The ideas were impressive and brought clarity to how different cryptocurrencies worked and other ways of having successful decentralized systems. Afterward, we really didn't think much of it. 

The next morning the team met again and started cracking jokes about obnoxious ways to use crypto, then someone said something that wasn't insane. My brother and his friend Austin explained they were thinking of utilizing Hedera's SDK to make a quick project that charged based on the amount used for beer taps called Hashtap. All of us agreed to just go with the project. There was no real debating because we thought it would be a simple one that we could quickly crank out, but boy were we wrong. To get the SDK working along with all of the necessary APIs and application development software was nightmarish. This step alone took roughly 80 percent of all the time working on this project. Since we wanted an application, we decided to utilize a version of Electron that was modified to be compatible with GO. Since the app really only did one thing, and we needed proof of concept the design was to be as minimal as possible while still being aesthetically pleasing. So together as a group we set a game plan into motion. I would design the user interface, Brendan should get some sleep as he will be the show person, Ryan and Austin will work out the backend. 

The time is now around 9:00 pm, which gives 12 hours to complete the project. Again, we started around 3:00 pm, so 6 hours has already been used simply setting up our tools. My part of the project was the user interface, so I went ahead and drew a mockup on a piece of paper. From there, I essentially messed around with CSS until I was happy with the way the logo was aligned with the button. Then after learning how to make an animation of a cup filling up, I implemented it right away with a color change so it would appear to be like beer.  Ryan and Austin were still stuck by the time I was finished with the bare minimum. From what I overheard was that GO and Hedera's SDK is incredibly frustrating to use on Windows. The SDK worked fine but getting GO to talk with the JavaScript seemed to be fruitless. Then it happened. Inside the demo of the modified electron concoction was a function called "explore()" and this was able to perfectly talk to the JavaScript. However, when they copied it and renamed it, the program was not having any of it. So, we resorted to expanding this function indefinitely to fit in our own functions, and it worked! After this magical moment, the process became much smoother. It was all thanks to this breakthrough that we did not give up at 3:00 AM. 

The rest of the morning consisted of merging everyone's work together and formatting it for presentation. Then at 6:30 AM, Brendan decided to join us once again to get an update on what to say for the presentation. After finalizing the application, we submitted it for the competition. After several hours of waiting, the presentation ceremony began. Keep in mind, three of us are good candidates for zombies at this point. A Senior Software Engineer at Jacobs, we will omit his name, was our first person to test our knowledge. Brendan came in hot with a fantastic intro to the project. Then after getting guided on what to say next from the software engineer, Ryan went into what the technical side involved. Austin then came in afterward on other use cases and a little bit on the trustworthiness of Hashgraph and lastly, I explained why Electron was used. This presentation set up the format for the rest of our presentation. Not only did it serve a good purpose, but it also seemed to flow and make it look like we're conscious enough to know what we were doing. While waiting, we were becoming nervous since we saw the other presentations and were amazed at their ideas as well. The Hedera crew then came up to us and boom, we did our pitch as best as we could. Comparing the time, they were there with us versus the time they spent with the other Hedera projects, we were nervous. We thought it was not good enough since they stayed the least amount of time. The final chunk of time passes, and we are about ready to sleep while standing. And then the awards began. 

Award after award went through and we were becoming impatient, we just wanted to sleep. Then Hedera went up. People around us began to talk louder and louder, then Anthony spoke into the microphone. All we heard was the 'p' sound. So, we looked at each other in confusion as any other person would. Anthony walks towards us and says, "Come on we will go to our booth for pictures." To our surprise, we actually made something of use and won Nintendo Switch's! Following up with everyone on the team of Hashtap, we were still surprised. Speaking for everyone on the Hashtap team, we are thankful for the opportunity to be able to participate in this challenge. Our plans to go further with Hashtap do not currently exist. The code has been revised and cleaned up, but at the moment Ryan and Austin already have new plans that happen to use Hedera's SDK again, this time with trading cards. As for myself, I will continue to be learning all that I can about front-end development and studying systems engineering.

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