signageOS Summer 2019 Hackathon

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At the core of signageOS is improving existing processes, innovation, and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in digital signage. The signageOS Dev Team regularly holds what are known as code-a-thons or hackathons to advance new and innovative concepts past the idea stage.

Don’t worry, not that kind of hacking.

A hackathon is a gathering where programmers collaboratively code in an extreme manner over a short period of time. Hackathons are at least a few days - or over a weekend - and generally no longer than a week. While working on a particular project, the idea is for each developer to have the ability and freedom to work on whatever he/she wants. - Techopedia

Leading up to the company’s biannual teambuilding retreat, the Dev Team decided it was the perfect time to rally the team and hold another hackathon. So, as you're probably wondering what a gathering of digital signage expert developers would do at a hackathon, let’s take a look at some of the projects that were the focus of this hackathon.  

signageOS CLI 

The first concept the dev team worked on during the hackathon was a CLI for signageOS. Many companies release CLIs with their API offerings in order to satisfy developers and maximize efficiency. First, let’s establish what a CLI is. A CLI (command line interface) is a method of interaction with operating systems and applications for electronic devices. Through a CLI the user enters a command, the CLI then processes that command and responds with the output or function. The process of using a CLI provides greater capabilities and performance which initially caused a large learning curve. To address this, the GUI (graphical user interface) was created. Unlike a GUI, CLI commands are entered rapidly in text form for best use.

A CLI for signageOS enables interaction with the signageOS Cloud and signageOS APIs for two main reasons: ease of development and greater efficiencies. Advanced users can utilize the signageOS Emulator and CLI to rapidly integrate signageOS into their stack and test without using the signageOS GUI environment. For example, developers can build and test Applets (HTML5 applications) through the CLI without the restrictions of the Applet editor in the signageOS GUI environment. Additionally, as the capabilities of the CLI grows, it will enable automation of various processes involving signageOS such as analytics from digital signage displays. Modeled after AWS’ CLI, companies like Amazon introduce a CLI for their services to provide a unified approach to development and automation.

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Automated Testing of FW

The second focus of the signageOS hackathon will have huge implications for all digital signage developers! As you probably know, when there is a new firmware update, hardware line, or feature, companies must spend large amounts of time testing variations to ensure the device and the content on the device will play properly. 

Imagine a tool that allows CMS companies and system integrators to automate testing HTML5 applications against any digital signage hardware to ensure performance capabilities when there are new updates, hardware or firmware versions. The benefits of such a tool would greatly improve testing processes and save a tremendous amount of time. Stay tuned for more information on this tool!  

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Conclusion

Sometimes the results of a hackathon can either be tremendously impactful or just a fun activity to do together as a team. The idea of pushing the limits and maintaining momentum to fuel motivation are a few of the core tenets behind hackathons. We encourage creativity and new ideas which is why signageOS is one of digital signage’s most innovative companies.

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