Reporting back from the #FTHack
Our Future Technologies team in London had the good fortune to take part in the second FT hackathon on May 20-21 this week, so we’re bringing you a guest post from our avid hackers.
The London-based Future Tech team members attended the 2nd Financial Times Hack Day this week at the FT’s headquarters here in London. Teams from across the FT joined in, including three delegates from FT Chinese in Beijing and guest companies such as Smartology.The focus of the hack was to improve the reader engagement with FT.com as well as utilising the main FT Content and Search APIs.Our team, aka “The Reel FT”, joined forces with two members from London Croydon’s Code Club, a volunteer-led scheme to teach children programming and valuable IT skills. Arriving into the white heat of croissant-fuelled competition, we discovered a distinct lack of coffee. Once we’d debugged that, we unleashed our creative juices upon the unsuspecting audience. An idea took shape and we became infused with the spirit of The Reel FT.After lunch, we took our initial list of innovative ideas and pared them down to our two entries - frictionless sharing, and a voice-based personal assistant. Debbie quickly came up with hack name “shiFT”, sharing information from the Financial Times, and Lucinda showed off her visual design skills to create the unique hack logo. From there things progressed smoothly until we had a polished demo of shiFT.
shiFT is a custom overlay for the FT.com site allowing readers to easily share content snippets to twitter (and other social media sites) using the FT.com content API.Judging all hacks proved to be tricky as all of them were great implementations, and the demos went smoothly as well. In the end, the judges - who included Financial Times CEO John Ridding, Robert Shrimsley, FT.com’s Managing Editor, and Steve Herrmann, BBC News Online’s Editor, voted for Guest Pass as the overall winner. This hack allows FT.com subscribers to share a limited number of individual articles per month with non-FT-members, friends, colleagues and family.Whilst the Reel FT team did not win any prize for their hack, Future Tech’s very own Peter O’Shaughnessy took the “Best Off-Message” award (arguably the most prestigious!), with his Voice Assistant”. FT Voice Assistant is based on Google Chrome’s new Web Speech API and provides you with information such as latest stock prices and headlines from the FT.com simply by speaking into your microphone of your computer; you can keep your hands free and get up to date.
The FT hack day was a great event that showed some great spirit and innovative ideas, and we will be sure to be there for next year’s too.
The London-based Future Tech team (or The Reel FT) here are Rene Bastijans, Debbie Akinpelu, Peter O’Shaughnessy, Lawrie Nichols, Lucinda Liu, Arun Vasudeva and their latest Developer addition, Jamal Natour.
(via FT hosts second annual Hack Day | About us | FT.com)