Hackathon project and a grand-prize winner, created with React, Firebase and Twilio API in three weeks by a team of five. This project was challenging for me not because of the three-week deadline and the tech required to create it, it was challenging because I was both a team lead and a lead developer on this project.

During the April of 2020, COVID-19 spread accross the world at the rapid pace. The COVID-19 tidalwave hit Croatia in February so we were working from home at the time.

I was constantly looking for projects and activities to do during the lockdown and when DEV.to announced the hackathon competition in collaboration with Twilio, I was hell-bent on doing it right away. Few of my colleagues from work got interested in the competition and we went with all guns blazing, working on the project after our regular office hours, sometimes long into the night.

We’ve decided to use our default dev stack alongside Twilio API which was required for the competition:

First, we needed to come up with an idea. With COVID-19 being a new danger in our community, we wanted to create an app that will make use of Twilio communications and bot API and be delightful and helpful to use. So we went with an app that motivates its users to have regular, healthy daily activities through gamification, help them keep track of their close contacts, and have a information bot.

App features and design
App features a delightful and colorful design with vibrant colors, clean layout and streamlined user flow.

I’ve decided that the best course of action was to focus on a mobile screen only and make it as polished as possible and to meet the deadline. This turned out to be a huge success, as we were able to finish the project few days before the deadline and the added polish and completeness gave us an edge over our competitors, regardless of the fact that it was mobile-only.

Tracking close contacts functionality
Tracking close contacts was an important feature of the app, as it allowed to quickly view and alert recent close contacts if the user had tested positive on COVID-19.

I’ve written a project document and submitted it a day or two before the deadline. A week after, the results came in, and we were both suprised and excited as we were declared the grand-prize winners in the COVID-19 communications category.

This project taught me how to streamline the features so the app still feels complete and polished, regardless of the missing features. It also showed me how well I can be a project lead and team lead.

Counchy the chatbot
Counchy is a chatbot that uses Twilio API to inform users how to keep their close contacts informed if they tested positive for COVID-19 and how to approach the topic.
HomeBound (COVID-19 Communications Winner)

The HomeBound project was developed by a team of 5 and aims to improve your life in self-isolation through a mix of functionality. It offers a gamified activity tracker to encourage you to stick to the activities and goals you set for yourself, and a chat bot powered by Programmable Chat and Twilio Autopilot to get answers to common questions. Finally, they added a voluntary close contact tracker. You can use it to keep track of when you saw people last, and reach out to them directly from within the app using Programmable SMS.

Twilio Blog post

(Congratulations to the winners of the Twilio x DEV hackathon)

Twilio team also did a livestream where they showcased the winning projects and we were delighted to be featured. They talked about Homebound, the idea about it and what they liked about it the most.

The week after, Twilio reached out and asked me for an interview in their Twilio developers spotlight, so I was featured developer for a week.

Few weeks after I’ve received a swag pack from Twilio along with the cash prize. Additionally, I was also invited to Twilio’s SIGNAL conference which was held online in October 2020.

Twilio swag pack - charger, blanket and t-shirt
Twilio swag pack - charger, blanket and t-shirt