As our latest hack days approached, rather than the usual panic of biting off more than I could chew and getting everything done in a huge rush, I decided I was just going to fix something that annoyed me. I was also going to miss one of the two hack days as I was off on holiday, so I knew I had to keep the idea small. All that said, the best decision I made was enlisting the help of my venerable colleague Colin Dearing — more on why later.
Previously for our Hack Days, I’d been inspired by technical issues that are more commonly known as ‘Technical Debt’. Usually these are things that prevent me from being able to deliver features to the business. For example, a mechanism to black-box test our Order Importer, which later came in very handy as part of a significant project that happened about a year after writing that code. Good job that code wasn’t thrown away!
Our next Hack Day was fast approaching, and I didn’t feel there were any obvious quick hacks that I could provide a proof-of-concept for in two days, especially on my own. So I had a nosey at the wiki page that had been set up for people to post their ideas, and possibly draw in some interest and extra hands. This entry at the top (with the head of IT’s name beside it!) caught my eye: