ServiceNow HackNow London 2016

Enterprise cloud company ServiceNow hosted its last #HackNow developer hackathon of 2016 on a pleasingly mild December day, at the firm’s UK office in London’s St Paul’s Cathedral area.

Coding directly inside the ServiceNow Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE), #HackNow attendees were able to create applications using Studio’s browser-based toolset to create any type of application file. Studio IDE integrated with Git and the ServiceNow ‘scoped app’ repository gives developers a powerful means of implementing a modern Agile development process.

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Breadth of power, scope of functionality

“The breadth of the ServiceNow platform allows developers to create anything from forms to portals, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), business rules and logic and onward to database tables and so on,” said Chris Pope, Office of the CSO at ServiceNow.

“Given the scope that our HackNow developers have to produce functionality layers that can work to solve real business problems, it is always fascinating to see what the teams in attendance produce at these events. Our London crowd showed superb levels of enthusiasm and a willingness to innovate, learn and enjoy themselves.”

HackNow London 2016 attendees were tasked with solving a business problem (rather than an information technology issue) and were able to use the forthcoming ‘Istanbul’ release of ServiceNow, to develop solutions that could effectively replace Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) software products.

Actual applications on the day were created and crafted using programming languages, platforms and frameworks including AngularJS, Bootstrap, NodeJS and JavaScript.

Team #1: DevoTeam

This team spent their time at ServiceNow HackNow London 2016 building a Christmas ‘gifting portal’ designed specifically with children as the primary user base. Children can use the Santa’s Workshop application to request presents (directly from Santa himself, obviously) and then provide feedback to both parents and manufacturers on the quality, usability and performance of the gift itself.

Kids can also use the app to log complaints about products (using ServiceNow performance analytics) so that firms targeting the gift market can hopefully refine and augment their final market offerings. The application also featured a Customer Service Helpdesk function for broken and faulty toys and an Asset Management element to tie into manufacturer’s stock and inventory databases.

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Team #2: SNOW Troopers

This team created a vacation request system. Radically more direct than integrating this type of functionality into a wider or higher-level Human Resources (HR) platform, the MyVacation app allows employees to request time off and schedule leave or breaks with their appropriate line managers.

This app represented a superb example of a custom-build application that resides on the ServiceNow platform itself and was delivered with outstanding User eXperience functionality. The app itself is presented at a considerably lower cost of maintenance compared to COTS software.

Team #3: TESMania

This team created an application to provide a socially connected way of bringing together like-minded groups in the workplace. Designed specifically to be used inside organisations to champion, encourage and organise extracurricular activities, individuals are able to register an activity idea, create an interest group… or develop and manage a complete event. 

Users can RSVP to each event and join in a connected conversation as a micro-community develops for each pursuit. The application also has wider activity tracking functionality via a Google Fit application to set goals and compete with colleagues.

Team #4: SNDeveloper

This team created an application called LiveDoc which provided ‘embedded living scoped documentation’ for applications. In terms of use, LiveDoc means that software application documentation would ship ‘along with’ the application itself. More specifically, this means that each application’s documentation information would be tied to the version, instance and edition of the application itself in a self-contained format. This way, the documentation is guaranteed to be relevant to the features and capabilities (or restrictions) of the application in hand. The team built LiveDoc using ServiceNow forms, views and widgets.

… and the winner was

The winning team of the 2016 ServiceNow HackNow London event was TESMania! The team received goody bags and (obviously) extensive bragging rights and recognition across their own firms and the ServiceNow coding community. There’s already a plan forming to introduce this into their organisation. We will be sure to follow up and report back as to the success of the internal roll out in the future.

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Adrían Bridgwater
Technology Journalist tracking 'developer' for Computer Weekly, Forbes, The Register & Internet of Business.

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