React Native Hackathon 

Last week we split our developers into two teams, came up with a list of app ideas, and then taught ourselves React Native.


Ryan Schmidt - Founder & CEOBy Ryan Schmidt

A couple weeks ago, I read an article from Coinbase announcing that their team transitioned their iOS and Android apps to React Native. They made the switch to streamline development and maintenance of their apps using the existing teams by training them in React Native. Even as a public company with a complex app and ample resources, they decided using the team they already had was their best option.

Not having heard something is not as good as having heard it; having heard it is not as good as having seen it; having seen it is not as good as knowing it; knowing it is not as good as putting it into practice.

Xun Kuang, Chinese Philosopher (312-230 BC)

That’s when it hit me. We don’t need more native iOS developers and we don’t need team members to switch from web developer to mobile developer. Let’s just be a team that can do both.

About the same time, we started to get more inquiries for React Native app builds from clients. It seemed like a great time to try something new. Instead of assigning just one or two developers to take a crash course, we cleared the entire team’s schedule for a week and learned together. It was a lot of fun and here’s how it went down.

team dude
Zach, Patrick, and David working on Dude, Where’s My Stuff?
team sandwichcoin
Skylar, Brent, and John in the Lab building SandwichCoin.

On Monday, we arrived with a list of ideas we had been contributing to all weekend. We had two simple requirements: It needs to look like an app and must use native APIs. The apps would be judged on creativity and functionality and the winning team members would receive $100 each.

Our goal was to learn as much as possible in 5 days about:

  • React and React Native
  • Building with and without Expo
  • How to patiently wait on Xcode
  • TestFlight

At the end of the week, we had two apps for review on TestFlight. Both were invented, designed, developed, and launched in 5 days. We learned a lot and now the entire team is ready to build apps for client projects. And that’s a good thing because it looks like we have a few already lined up.

And here’s a bit about each of the apps…

Dude, Where’s My Stuff? by Zach, Patrick, and David is helpful if you find yourself lending stuff out all the time. It’s really simple to keep tabs on your chainsaw or your favorite Ashton Kutcher movie with this easy to use app.

  • Built in React Native using Firebase Auth, Firestore, and Storage
  • Add items to your inventory
  • Keep track of who borrowed the item and when you expect it back
  • Take pictures and notes of it’s condition when you lent it out
dude home
dude add
dude add 2
dude add 3

Dude, Where’s My Stuff? is the perfect app for keeping tabs on all the crap you’ve loaned out to forgetful friends.

SandwichCoin by Skylar, Brent, and John was built to help people understand the value of crypto compared to everyday purchases. You can see how much $5 in crypto is worth now versus a $5 purchase you made last week, like a sandwich. SandwichCoin helps you decide if you should buy the sandwich or the coin.

  • Built in React Native using Firebase Auth, Firestore, and Storage.
  • Push Notification reminders to check back in on current sandwich value
  • Crypto API at time of purchase and current price of Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin
  • Add your transactions to a list
  • Compare individual transaction with the value of crypto over time
  • Regret you hadn’t bought more crypto
splash screen

SandwichCoin tracks your purchases and compares them to what that fiat would have been worth in crypto.

And while we have a laundry list of things we’d like to change or improve about both apps before they’d make it to the App Store, both served their purpose and helped quickly train our team on some cool and different ways to build apps. It was time well spent and we’re looking forward to the next Hackathon.