Have you ever felt the excitement of working on a project that brings together your passion, creativity, and a community of like-minded people? That’s undoubtedly how I felt during my recent adventure at the Cloudfest Hackathon. In this blog post, I’m not only coming back to blogging, but I’m also thrilled to share the highlights of my journey at the event, the fantastic team I collaborated with, our accomplishments, and my ongoing commitment to the open-source project we contributed to, WapuuGotchi.

Attending the Cloudfest Hackathon

I drove by car to the event venue at the Europa Park near Freiburg in Germany. It was a leisurely 4-hour drive over less busy streets, with a large segment over highways in France. When I first arrived at the Cloudfest Hackathon, I expected numerous people, but couldn’t believe how fortunate I was to be surrounded by so many talented individuals. The atmosphere was electric, and the free accommodation and full catering made the experience even more enjoyable, all thanks to the generous sponsors.

This years Cloudfest Hackathon Sponsors

WapuuGotchi: A Gamified WordPress Experience

WapuuGotchi animated by WapuuGotchi Designer Miodrag Veljovic

Imagine bringing a touch of fun and personalization to your WordPress experience with a cute, customizable digital pet. That’s the idea behind WapuuGotchi – a personalized Wapuu assistant designed to gamify your WordPress journey with customizable notifications, quests and rewards. For those who might not be familiar, Wapuu is the adorable mascot of the WordPress community, and WapuuGotchi is a playful combination of Wapuu and the ever-popular Tamagotchi digital pets. When I saw this project on the agenda for the hackathon, to tell I felt excited is an understatement.

Our Diverse and Talented Team

The moment I met my new teammates, I knew we were in for an incredible ride. Our group of around 12 people consisted of an incredible mix of professionals, including WordPress developers, React JS specialists, UX/UI designers, marketing experts, graphic designers, and SysOps. Despite coming from various backgrounds, our team quickly found a way to self-organize and efficiently allocate our skills to address the needs of the WapuuGotchi project.

My Role as voluntary Creative Director:

As a web designer and vector artist, I was eager to contribute my creative talents to this fantastic project. I found myself volunteering as the creative director to manage the visual tasks for WapuuGotchi. Working closely with a remarkable designer named Miodrag Veljovic, I coordinated the essential design aspects to create layered SVG files, allowing users to build their custom Wapuu using the WordPress plugin “WapuuGotchi.” Mio not only refined the existing SVG files, but also designed many more items to unlock later within the plugin’s WapuuGotchi Customizer.

In parallel, our UX/UI designer Dennis Hipp took charge of setting up social media accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Mastodon, and Facebook, while I focused on building the project hub website on a freshly installed WordPress on the project’s domain. Together, we ensured that our project had a strong online presence from the get-go.

Utilizing ChatGPT-4 for Content Creation:

One of the most impressive aspects for me during the hackathon was leveraging the power of ChatGPT-4 to create engaging and relevant content for the project hub site. Thanks to this cutting-edge AI, we were able to effortlessly populate our website with compelling content that not only informed our visitors, but also captured the excitement and passion behind the WapuuGotchi project.

As our journey at the Cloudfest Hackathon unfolded, our team continued to make significant strides in the development of WapuuGotchi. From building the website structure to finalizing the design and engaging in social media buzz, we pushed ourselves to achieve our goals and make the most of this extraordinary event.

The development division of the hackathon team worked hard on refactoring the code from the proof-of-concept plugin and building several APIs to have them available for later stages of the plugin’s roadmap. They collaborated utilizing a dedicated GitHub organization to work simultaneously on the project.

Day 1 & Day 2 Accomplishments for the outreach and design division:

On the first day, I laid the foundation for our project by setting up the website structure, legal pages, and GDPR settings, ensuring that our site was compliant and user-friendly. Our team was upbeat, and the positive energy was palpable as we worked together to bring our vision to life.

By the second day, we had finalized the design of the website, and I was able to manage the publication of some initial blog posts while also participating in the social media buzz. Our online presence continued to grow, and it was thrilling to see how people were responding to our project and the creative efforts we had put into it.

Final Day 3

On the third and last day, we continued working on the project and prepared last minute a short 5-minute presentation about the project and our accomplishments. Our team-lead Marko asked me to accompany him on the stage to present the design related results while he talked about the code related progress. Even if we didn’t reach the set goal to have a working revised plugin to download at the end of the hackathon, we are all very proud of the momentum it brought to the tiny “Schnapsidee” Marko had a year ago.

Awards and Charity:

One of the most heartwarming aspects of the Hackathon was our team’s involvement in the award competition. We collected €505 to fund the “Social Media Master Award” and, as an unintended testament to our hard work, we won that very award. Our team’s efforts in creating a social media buzz had paid off, and we couldn’t have been more proud.

In addition to our success in the “Social Media Master Award,” our team also secured 2nd place in the “Dream Team Award.”

You can find more information about the awards and the good causes they support on the Cloudfest Hackathon website. It was an honor to be recognized for our dedication and collaboration, and we were thrilled to contribute to the Groundbreaker Talents initiative.

Continuing Collaboration after the Hackathon:

As the event came to an end, I initiated the creation of a dedicated Slack workspace to maintain our momentum and provide a space for our team to continue contributing to the WapuuGotchi project even after the Hackathon. Our commitment to the project was unwavering, and we were excited about the potential for future growth and development.

Personal Triumphs:

The Cloudfest Hackathon held special significance for me on a personal level. It was my first in-person event after four years of battling a serious illness and being bedridden and almost landing in a wheelchair. After undergoing successful total hip replacement surgeries, I am now able to walk again without pain or the need for crutches. This event marked not only a milestone in my professional journey, but also a significant step in my personal recovery.

I cherished the opportunity to reconnect with old friends from the WordPress community, while also forging new relationships with passionate individuals. The Hackathon reminded me of the power of human connection and the joy of working together towards a shared goal.

Commitment to WapuuGotchi:

With the Hackathon behind me, I am more committed than ever to the WapuuGotchi project. I offered to volunteer as a community manager and creative director, hoping that our efforts will fill people’s hearts with joy as they create their own WapuuGotchi in their WordPress site’s backend and enjoy the assistance the WapuuGotchi provides. I believe in the potential of WapuuGotchi to revolutionize the WordPress experience by adding a fun, personalized touch, and I am excited to contribute my skills and passion to this innovative project.

My experience at the Cloudfest Hackathon and my involvement with the WapuuGotchi project has been nothing short of unforgettable. It was a whirlwind of creativity, collaboration, and personal growth that left me with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement for the future. As I continue to work with the incredible team I met at the Hackathon, I am eager to see where our journey will take us and how the WapuuGotchi project will evolve. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this inspiring community and look forward to the positive impact our project will have on the WordPress experience for users around the world.

You are welcome to join, contributing to the WapuuGotchi project.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on our WapuuGotchi project and the Hackathon experience! Share your insights, ideas, and questions in the comments section below.

Let’s keep the conversation going and explore the potential of WapuuGotchi together!


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