A hackathon, also known as a hack day or hackfest, is an event in which software developers work intensively on a software project of their choice for a day or two with the goal of creating a usable piece of software for educational, social, or business purposes. Widen has dubbed our own hackathon as “Hackathon Days” where the goal is to “deliver” usable software within two days. Denna Ballew, Widen’s development manager, uses Hackathon Days, which happen twice per year, to allow Widen developers to work on anything they want, to flex their creative muscles and to explore technologies that have not been used yet.
At the end of the second day, each developer presents their project to their peers. It is an exciting time not only for the developers to show off their “development and creative chops,” but it’s also an exciting time to see which ideas can potentially have an impact on the Media Collective, Widen’s flagship digital asset management (DAM) solution. The latest edition of Hackathon days, which was held in April, was no exception.
Nathan Mall, one of Widen’s very talented developers took on the task of creating a seamless link between the Widen Media Collective and a stock photography site for his Hackathon Days project. Widen is in a constant state of trying to connect marketers and the many different marketing tools they use regularly, especially if it involves digital assets. Traditionally, marketers are heavy users of royalty free stock photography solutions like Getty Images and iStockphoto. These sites have made searching for stock images very easy, but they lack any kind of search, repurposing and management capability after the initial purchase is made. DAM helps make that image that was purchased by one person searchable and re-usable by all of your users.
While DAM is instrumental in helping to search and manage existing assets, there will always be a need to add new assets either by shooting and creating them, or by purchasing royalty free assets from a stock house. When a user of the Media Collective logs in to DAM to look for an image, they are first interested in seeing what assets they have currently available. In the event that search turned up an asset that was close, but not exactly what the user was looking for, Nathan decided it would be cool to launch a “similar assets” search on a stock image site based on the descriptive metadata of that asset.
Through integrating the Media Collective’s API, and the API for Getty Images stock site, Nathan was able to add the ability to launch, and subsequently purchase, similar assets on Getty’s stock site.
Getty’s site was chosen based on the ability of their API, and because Getty Images was the most popular stock site used by Widen customers as reported in a recent Widen customer survey. Within the timeframe for Hackathon days, and due to some limitations to Getty’s API, the ability to then pull the purchased image and its metadata back into DAM may be tackled as part of subsequent development efforts when this feature makes it into the schedule for the Media Collective.
At the time of the Hackathon project unveilings, Brenna Hale, one of Widen’s advisors, was demo’ing the Media Collective to a potential customer that she felt would be very interested in this new idea. She arranged a time for Nathan and Deanna to demonstrate the Hackathon project to them, and to explain to them how we feed innovative ideas through the development pipeline. They were impressed with the capabilities of the integration itself and were very complimentary of Widen’s openness to sharing our in-progress ideas. They also loved how we encourage, support, and foster creative ideas amongst our own talented employees.
We feel strongly this is a great example of what makes Widen special! For developers, we give the freedom and the support to be creative on their own and to work on fun projects. For potential customers, we are very open with our idea sharing and development process, which allows us to be extremely agile and quick to market with prototypes. This is extremely important since digital media workflows are constantly evolving and showing no signs of slowing down.
Request a demo for a tour of some of the Widen Hackathon Days innovations that have made it into our commercial DAM solution.