I was invited to a Hackathon that one of our client’s client was throwing. Being that I love programming and learning, I decided I would go.
The event was in Cambridge, MA. I arrive early, (my friend said there would be a lot more traffic than there was at that time of day) so I got a tour of office. It’s situated in an old, what I believe to be, factory building. The coolest part of the office was that they had whiteboard paint on every wall surface, complete with markers of course.
The event started and people who were attending had tossed up ideas on the white board. A couple people wanted to integrate LinkedIN with HubSpot. Another person wanted to integrate Eventbrite with HubSpot, to get information to/from event goers after the event ends. I didn’t like any of those ideas and my only experience with HubSpot is their Leads API, so I stuck to what I know.
I had an idea for an app the second I walked in the door, it was like magic. My main hassle was that HubSpot’s Canvas integration REQUIRES HTTPS. Now, my web host is DreamHost and I am kind of cheap, so of course I don’t have any way to host a HTTPS site immediately. A big part of me wanted to bite the bullet and order a secure server from DreamHost, or setup another linode, but I felt that I’ve been spending a lot of money lately and that I would figure out a way. Adrian, my contact at HubSpot, of who I am working with on the PPC project(more on that later), walked by and saved me.
He asked if I had ever used GoogleAppEngine. Of course I hadn’t because I was under the belief that it cost money to use, but then I realized I was thinking of Amazon’s EC2. I sign up for GAE and within an hour I have a HelloWorld site setup. The slow part was installing Python2.5 so I could use the same version that GAE used and not have to fix a lot of backwards compatibility errors between 2.5->2.7.
After I had a site up that could do HTTPS I dove into programming for my HubSpot app. The app I am doing for work graphs leads per day combined with Google AdWords data per day. I decided to do something different. My app is still a graph, as graphs are fun and easy to understand by everyone.
This app graphs a set of leads and shows how many leads happened in a given hour for the previous day. Given extra time I would have added an interface to specify the day to graph leads, but last night my time was severely limited by the fact that I had to setup my environment for GoogleAppsEngine.
Improvements I can and want to do to this app are database, faster processing, and being able to select a date. I almost wanted to break down and learn NodeJS for this, because from my understanding of the event driven nature of NodeJS would be a lot easier to load data over a longer period of time, than to just load it all at once and timeout with HubSpot’s Jakarta Commons-HttpClient.