Hackathon? Eh? For those scratching their heads the wikipedia definition of a hackathon is “an event when programmers meet to do collaborative computer programming.”

The development team at Clear Books has exploded over the summer which is fantastic news for our customers because some seriously cool stuff is on its way. However, developers are a strange bunch and when they want some downtime from coding there is nothing they like better than… coding.

So this time last week we launched the inaugural Clear Books Hackathon. The dev team were given the Friday to get into groups and work on a new project. Energized with developer fuel (fizzy drinks, crisps, pizza at lunchtime and beers in the afternoon) they set to work. There was one rule: the projects had to be relevant to Clear Books (company or application) in some way.

In their own words here is what the team came up with:

Hackathon Projects

Pool Tournament

Hello, Tom here. I worked with Jay and Matt to create a web application to keep track of our weekly pool tournaments – it was an ambitious project for such a short amount of time but we managed! The app generates a tournament structure from a list of players, so we know who is playing who each week and it also keeps track of wins, losses and even “achievements” – trophies given out to players for achieving something noteworthy, like winning 10 games in a row or beating Tim. We hope to get the pool stats integrated into the website soon, so Matt’s terrible win/loss ratio will be available for all the world to see. Who knows, maybe Clear Books pool will become a globally followed sport!

An example pool tournament underway.

Hackathon Planner

The Hackathon Planner does exactly what is says. It catalogues all the Hackathon ideas and suggestions anyone at Clear Books makes.  I am planning to add a rating system for the application in the future so that we know the most popular ideas each time. Pizzas and drinks made the day a great success. Sheng.

Unit Testing

Hi, my name is Adrian and along with Daniel we worked on some features to help Clear Books become a more tested piece of software.

According to Wikipedia, “PHPUnit is a unit testing software framework for the programming language PHP”.  We used PHPUnit in the creation of an internal continuous integration testing environment for the Clear Books code base. This means that whenever somebody makes some changes to the Clear Books software, we perform a series of tests and checks on the code before it is allowed to be used by our customers.  By performing this testing we can be more confident that the code we are writing is correct, and hopefully as the developers get familiar with the system they will start writing their own unit tests as they code new features.

With all this automated testing going on there will be fewer bugs in the future!

Company Events Planner

With this application any member of the Clear Books team can suggest their ideas for our regular company social events. Events in the past have included a poker night, Age of Empires tournament, brewery tour and a karaoke night.

It’s also possible to vote for the idea that you like the most so that we can see what is popular.


Calendar Integration

Hi, I’m Patrick and I’ve been working on integrating the Clear Books calendar into popular calendar applications.

Currently, you can view a calendar of your upcoming events on the Clear Books dashboard if you have the calendar widget turned on. We’ve had a few requests for users to be able to integrate this with Google Calendar so that they can see everything in one place, so I decided to allow the calendar to be imported into any calendar software that users may already be using.

When this feature goes live you will be able to import your calendar as an iCal feed into any software that supports it, such as Google Calendar, Windows Live Calendar, Yahoo Calendar etc.

As events are created in Clear Books, they will then start to appear in your chosen calendar software!

PHP Jobs

We are always on the look out for PHP ninjas so if Clear Books sounds like the type of company you would like to work at please check out our PHP developer jobs page.

Posted by Tim Fouracre

Tim founded Clear Books in 2008. Like many small business owners he worked from home for 15 months to get his startup off the ground. Today Tim enjoys helping Clear Books, its customers and its growing team innovate and achieve. Tim did his GCE O Levels in Ghana.