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Hackday: Never Lunch Solo

24 January 2014

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A photograph of Richard Gubby

Richard Gubby

Stuck with working out how to optimize your DB? Maybe your Rails app isn’t scaling and you’d like some advice on what to do? Well never fear, because Never Lunch Solo is here.

Last month at Talis HQ we hosted the latest of our hack days - we’d already pitched some ideas, voted on them and divided everyone into teams. All we had to do now was build and ship a fully working product in 2 days. More to come on the other hacks later - this post is about the project I was assigned to - Never Eat Alone.

never lunch soloThe idea arrived via Nadeem and was that if a developer had a problem, and no-one else could help, maybe you could hire… another developer. You post your technical requirements, where you wanted to meet and for the price of a latte and/or lunch, another dev would meet you and help you out.

Our team only had 2 days to build it (minus 2 hours for a show and tell), so we binned off building our own API as it would take too much time. Angular was an excellent fit for this project, we plugged in Firebase for our backend and AngularFire to put the two together.

Colour scheme, no problem - Matt drooled over Kuler like a DIY expert browsing a Dulux catalogue. Never Eat Alone is a site for devs so we settled on a black, green combo with a touch of purple thrown in (Ubuntu terminal anyone?). A logo? Who needs designers! We found an awesome icon from the appropriately named Font Awesome, scaled it up and coloured it green, job done.

We cracked on with building the app in Angular, hooked up authentication to Twitter and GitHub through Firebase and by the end of day one we had a working example, which looked great, had a logo, could log you in and create a meetup.

star warsDay 2 was about adding in all the other core features we hadn’t got around to implementing yet - being able to register what skills you had, sending out invites to anyone with the appropriate skills and accepting / rejecting the invites. Whilst working on those features, we were hit with the bombshell that the domain for Never Eat Alone was taken! After a bit of searching (not much I must admit), we struck gold with the name “Never Lunch Solo” - it’s about lunch and has a not-so-subtle Star Wars connection - genius. Domain registered - check. Twitter account created - check. CNAME the domain to an S3 bucket - check.

A bit of spit and polish applied 2 minutes before the show and tell, another Star Wars reference added in and we were done - we had a real-time meetup scheduling system!

The service is live on (did I mention it’s hosted straight outa S3?), sign in and buy one of us lunch in exchange for some tech help!

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