Hackathons (and game jams) can be a lot of fun but there can also be a lot of pressure to build something that actually works and is good. Enter the stupid hackathon! The idea of a stupid hackathon is that you deliberately make something ridiculous and/or terrible. Suddenly the pressure is off and you can try stuff that you don’t know will work. A friend of mine heard about it and shared the idea, then a few of us got together and had a little shitty hackathon.

I built a directions page using the Google Maps javascript api that sends you to a burrito place (or for tacos, we only have so many Mexican restaurants in Victoria) first before you actually get to your destination. It picks one at random, so sometimes it sends you to Esquimalt by way of McKenzie and Shelbourne. And sometimes it sends you to Taco Time so you can regret your life choices :)

Parts of the maps api are really easy to use, but other parts, not so much. Displaying directions on a map was straightforward, and so was adding waypoints between the user’s chosen start and end points. Getting enormously detailed information about a place was surprisingly easy too. Autocomplete, on the other hand, just wouldn’t work for me and I have no idea why. The great (not actually great) thing about javascript is how things can completely fail to work and not give you any sort of error message to work with.

To be fair, the maps api documentation does include a lot of examples to work from which is more than I can say about many other apis. If I ever finish adding autocomplete to my terrible directions page, I’d start with one of their autocomplete examples and add my directions code to it. Then if I wanted to get really fancy I could search for a burrito place on the way to your destination and add that to the route instead of randomly sending people across town. But then again, where’s the fun in that?