Hack Days

Hack-A-Porter VI – Return of the meaningful AJAX error message

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.

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Perl

Drinking tea at NAP with Bungle, Zippy and George

A few of us at NAP take tea drinking very seriously.

Personally, I’ve instigated and run tea rounds throughout my career, but it’s only while I’ve been at NAP that I’ve realised what’s been missing. While discussing whose round was next in our IRC chat room #tea, we came up with the idea of a tea bot. The notion of this is not completely novel, and there are apps available to determine who should make the next round. The trouble was, we felt they lacked the rules, features and ease of use that we wanted.

Some of the features we wanted included:

  • Easy maintenance of tea rounds
  • Fair tea-making system
  • Element of surprise
  • Able to deal with people being away temporarily
  • Support for volunteering to make a round

So, we created Zippy, Bungle and George (depending on who in the tea round is running the bot). Adam got us started, Pete made significant contributions and I wrote some tests.

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