Behind the Scenes of Our Ship-It Day


Last week we had another Ship-It day – But this time, instead of doing an engineer-only event we opened our internal hackathon to the whole company. Mission: Build something useful in 24h.

A ship-it day at Stylight generally follows this pattern:

    1. Gathering of ideas: Everybody is invited to create one slide on a shared Google presentation, describing the idea, and which problem it solves.
    2. Pitch session: We go through the deck and everyone pitches his/her ideas to the participants
    3. Groups are forming: Every participating Stylighters is invited to join a group. Ideally groups are composed of several complementary skills
    4. Hacking time: groups have 24h to work on their project with one single constraint: Delivering a working project.
    5. Presentation: After the 24h and too many coffees and Club-Mate, groups present what they managed to build like in a mini-faire atmosphere.
    6. Voting: Everyone is invited to vote for projects on a number of predefined criteria
    7. Awards time!

A few projects that were built during this ship-it day:


  • Problem it solves: Finding new places and colleagues to eat around the office
  • What they built: An Android app that uses GPS and the foursquare API to find
  • Technical highlight: It uses a peer-to-peer library to discover who’s around and manage the communication with other devices, so no server needed.
  • Challenge: Sergii, our data scientist had to learn Android 🙂
Stylight Face Game:
  • Problem it solves: In a fast-growing company it’s hard to remember everybody and what they’re doing
  • What they built: An Android and web app that present the player with pictures of employees associated with a name or a job title. Swipe right or left, Tinder-style and get on top of the leaderboard by making the right guesses.
  • Technical highlight:  BambooHR API to retrieve picture, names and job titles of the employees. SwipeCard was used to provide the Tinder-like card swiping functionality, Volley was used for managing HTTP requests and Picasso for image loading.
  • Challenge: Finishing a full blown app in 24h.

Google Group Management

  • Problem it solves: Our infra team has to do a lot of manual work to subscribe employees to internal Google Groups, so they want to empower them to do this task on their own
  • What they built: A web app that plugs uses Google Groups and associate user’s permissions to what he can subscribe to.
  • Technical Highlight: Rails was used to connect to Google Group API. Lot of work accomplished for a one-man show.

Stylight Roulette

  • Problem it solves: Discovering new colleagues by going for a lunch with them.
  • What they built: A web app that has a “Slot Machine” style and select 4 people to go to lunch with.
  • Technical Highlight: The app was partially built as a previous Ship-it Day project but not finished. It was rebuilt in Python and uses Tornado web application framework and SQL Alchemy db toolkit for the MySQL backend DB. For frontend, bootstrap templates were used:  In the backend logic, API wrapper for the BambooHR API was built, where we can retrieve certain public employee data.
  • Challenge: Coding CSS is always tricky for backend developers!

This was the first ship-it day to mix non-engineer with engineers and the outcome was definitely positive. Some teams will open-source their project after a bit of code cleaning!

Here is the video recap:


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