Heroku API using RESTAPIUnifier

Background

I was encouraged and inspired by fellow developers and supporters at the recent LSCC event to blog about my experiences at Hacked.IO that took place a couple of weeks ago (20-21 July ’13), at the O2 dome in London.

A whopping 500+ developers in an huge auditorium, all set to compete for a challenge organised by O2’s fantastic team of geeks! It was one of the biggest hack events I have been to, my team was I and me ;)! It felt like I was amongst London’s cream-of-the-crop, some mega-talented folks with great ideas! A number of kids (under 10) put all of us to shame with their focus, talent and know-how on how to use tech gadgets and hack with them!

The motto of the event was “Learn – Build – Share” precisely what we all did during the weekend – unlike other events this wasn’t a mere competition, the organisers and sponsors were interested in seeing our creativity and anything innovative using things we had at our disposal!

c54cd-hacked-prizes-heroku-excitement

— All these dynamics certainly gave the judges a hard time to decide who were the best — (Read one of the judge’s experiences at the event)


Timeline

20/7 Sat. 10:00 am – we all arrive, get scanned, get our badges, have some breakkie! Mingle about, select our seats, try to connect with the Wifi – but no luck, this goes on for a while.

20/7 Sat. 12:00 noon – sponsors talk about what they do, and announce the challenges and prizes they are giving away!

After all the talks and workshops, I decided to narrow my focus down to one idea for which I could do something using a set of tools I already have – given at a hackathon we barely have time to make a full-fledged app, the best is to leave prepared from home! Do the bare-minimum with the best tools and ideas you have and present something that can be made production-ready later on!

I was surrounded by a number of other hackers who were working on anything from a flying drone to raspberry pi to Philips hue lamps! Not forgetting ones hacking away with python, java, javascript, php, etc… despite the lack of a decent Wifi connection!

20/7 Sat. 6-ish – Wifi is now up and running, slowly routers and modems are made available! We all switched from our USB-teethers to the now existent Wifi!


My Story


After going through the code base and fixing a number of things in the RESTAPIUnifier library, I had a “eureka” moment to make a Heroku API client available using the wrapper library written in Java – to craft API clients!

At this time, I had semi-interested contributors but zero commitment or dedication from them! So I went off writing the API client using the RESTAPIUnifier, and struggled for some time, between a bad Wifi connection, loads of API documentation, failing tests, clarity in thoughts, lots of noise around me and cramped up seats!

Towards midnight I had a couple of passing tests, which gave me confidence that there was hope, I was able to connect to the Heroku API end-point and use my API key to gain access and receive an {OK} against the OAuth API command. Everything is much easier, when you get authenticated by the end-point – first major step achieved!

My strengths: able to stay awake till late, past hackathon experience, past API experience, handy toolbox…., my dev. friends & supporters, ability to observe & learn from experiences, learn & share, stay positive, work independently & in teams, motivate myself and others!

What I learnt: keep chugging away without thinking of the outcome, participate and compete even though you might seem like an “odd” one out, watch how others present their ideas, everyone’s view counts, support the best and the best will support you, its not about winning but about what you have to give and share with others, be modest & humble!

21/7 Sun. 10:00 am onwards – what worked last night does not work fully this morning, now lets implement a new command for the same API and see if that works! An hour later, yay! that worked!

21/7 Sun. 11:15 am – back to the failing tests, tried to revive my project from a failing API call – switch to version 3.0 of Heroku API, that’s the latest, use that one says @neilmiddleton !

21/7 Sun. 11:30 am – 30 minutes before the submission closes, here’s the submission on Hackerleague: https://www.hackerleague.org/hackathons/hacked/hacks/heroku-api-using-restapiunifier.

21/7 Sun. 12noon onwards – presentations and judging starts

21/7 Sun. 4:30 pmHeroku API using RESTAPIUnifier bags the “star” prize among the five prizes in the Heroku category. Other submitters get the Heroku prizes as well!

The aim of the idea was to highlight the fact that Heroku API functionalities which are available from CLI (command-line interface), are now available programmatically through your applications – able to control the functionalities through your own programs.

Find out more about the work, by following the links mentioned above, contributors are welcome! This is just the beginning and there’s plenty of work to be done on the library and the dependent example API clients!

Github repo: https://github.com/neomatrix369/RESTAPIUnifier


Thanks

Thanks to @angiemae, @antonio, @emmanuel for their moral support! The @Heroku team also helped with knowledge and support when the tests were failing and I needed to know about their latest API!

Thank you @Heroku for selecting my submission and the other Heruko winners from amongst the 70+ submissions! Not forgetting John Stevenson (@jr0cket) and his team who were present both days sharing their knowledge and supporting us developers.

Signup on Heroku at https://id.heroku.com/signup/hackedio – to generate your API key, host your app and hack away!


Next time

Hmmmm, it was fun, not just ’cause I was able to present and win, but I met so many developers, many known faces and saw so much talent. I was inspired and wished the weekend didn’t end!

I’m looking forward to the next one, as it feels I’m getting better at it. Are you game? Yes, then join me, my closing quote: Together we are a formidable force! As individuals we contribute to the best of our abilities!

See you all at another hack / community event!

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