If you have played TwilioQuest before, then Twilio APIs might not be completely new for you. There's so much that Twilio has to offer to developers that the only problem you might have is - "What project should I start on at a hackathon?".
Perhaps you're completely new to the hackathon scene, and that's okay as well!
That's why I put together an article that's essentially your one-stop shop to hit the ground running within an hour at your hackathon! Plus, other awesome tricks that students might not know that you can easily impress your team with.
All you need to get started is a free or paid Twilio account. If you are new to Twilio get your free account now! (If you sign up through this link, Twilio will give you $10 credit when you upgrade.)
First off, let's talk about your developer environment. Every coder knows that having a cool setup means way more than having a cool project... right? Is it even a hackathon without flexing your gear, arguing over tabs versus spaces, or Emacs versus Vim? Though if you're a Vim user, here are 5 quality of life Vim tricks for you to check out.
Jokes aside, having a cool workflow and a nifty tool belt can help you work more efficiently, especially if you're content!
Not only is it possible to make your IDE sparkly and cute, but you can download Oh My Zsh so that you can manage your Zsh configuration better. You can also save yourself from typing
git branch every time you forget what branch you're on. Here are 9 lesser-known Zsh tips and tricks for you to check out while you're at it.
Another nifty must have tool under your belt is ngrok, a localhost tunneling tool. In fact, it's been so helpful for us developers at Twilio that we have plenty of articles talking about how much ngrok has been so convenient and helps us test webhooks locally.
Fun Twilio projects to show off at your hackathon
- Build a site with Flask and Twilio Verify for users to upload a file
- Build Twilio Apps with React: A Guide for Frontend Developers
- For pet loving hardware developers, build a button that allows your dog to take selfies
If your hackathon primarily communicates over Slack, you should consider redirecting your Twilio errors from your email to a Slack channel. This way, you can share your error messages in real time by forwarding them to Slack so that your team members can be aware of the errors as well.
Social good projects with Twilio
If you're at a hackathon with a theme for making projects with social impact, you probably want to use technologies that are quick to get started with and potentially deploy with no stress.
Here are some examples of social good projects with starter code that you can reference:
Not only is there a chance to compete in a social good category, but you can expand the project and continue the impact on social media and beyond!
Trending technologies to try out
If you're not quite sure what Twilio product you want to play around with, check out these other articles to give you more ideas of the technologies you can spend time exploring at the hackathon:
- Explore the difference between functional and class components in React
- Using the Twilio Python helper library in your async applications
For hackers who love data and want to go down that route, check out this article on what questions to ask before working with a data set.
You can also explore AWS technologies by deploying your hacks on an EC2 instance.
Impressive technologies to use with OpenAI's GPT-3 engine
If you and your team were lucky enough to snag some OpenAI API codes to play with the GPT-3 engine, then the possibilities are literally endless as to what you can do.
Here are some fun technical tutorials that you can explore and build off of:
- Create a GPT-3 Twitch chatbot with Node.js
- Use Twilio WhatsApp API, OpenAI's GPT-3 Engine, and Clarifai API to start an Instagram foodie account
Or you can go meta and build a project with GPT-3 to help people find new project ideas!
What's next for using Twilio at a hackathon?
If you already have your project idea or your team is ready to present, why not consider purchasing a domain name to present the demo in style? Learn how to redirect a website to another domain name. Don't forget to ask the organizers at the hackathon if they have free trials or promo codes from sponsors to help you purchase the domain name for a discounted price.
Lastly, take some time to explore TwilioQuest! There are always new missions and updates going on in the TwilioQuest game so make sure you signed up. You'll be able to practice new Twilio APIs fast and have fun while doing so.
Check out Twilio Evangelist Lizzie Siegle's hackathon tips to make the most out of the next hackathon event you attend.
Let me know what you're building by reaching out to me over email!
Diane Phan is a Developer Network editor on the Developer Voices team. She loves to help programmers tackle difficult challenges that might prevent them from bringing their projects to life. She can be reached at dphan [at] twilio.com or LinkedIn.
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