Choc In To Joyville - Cadbury's Hackday

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Before Cadbury's inaugural hackday began there were a number of rumblings on the blogs about the extact nature of Cadbury's intentions. See Thayer Prime's and Emma Mulqueeny's thoughts on the subject.

As it happens, after a bit of gentle poking, some of the terms were clarified.
Cadbury IP

The event itself went rather well, but I'd like to point out a few points where it didn't quite live up to the Hack Day Manifesto.

  • Registration - due to some confusion with the registration form, some entrants were turned away.
  • Checking for clashes - sadly NHS Hack Day was also on. It's hard to avoid clashes, but both seemed well attended.
  • WiFi - a bit patchy and no security.
  • Power sockets - far too few, requiring the staff to go out and buy more.
  • Dietary requirements - lack vegetarian food. The catering staff seemed somewhat taken aback that veggie friendly fare was asked for. After a few polite comments, food was provided.
  • APIs - there were none on offer. We did get a bunch of nice Cadbury's assets to play with though.
  • Prizes - a contentious one this. The prizes were, if anything, too generous. £500 and new phone is quite an incentive. The top prize was £10,000! This lead to a number of professional teams entering, and some people bringing along pre-built apps to polish. Naturally, I'm just bitter because I didn't win anything.

That said, the event was very good - especially as a first effort from the team.

A specially mention on the "Accessibility" front - this was the first event I've been to where a sign language interpreter was provided.

Oh, and while some hackdays give away stickers, memory sticks, and even phones - Cadbury's provided basically unlimited chocolate! Including a 1KG bar of Dairy Milk for everyone!

1kg of chocolate

My Hack

My hack allowed a user to scan a Cadbury's barcode, see nutrional information about their treat, as well as "checking in" to the chocolate on Twitter. I then added some gubbins about finding your local sports centre & tweeters near you. It looked a bit like this:
Choc In Front Page

So, anyway, here's my 3 minute demo video:


The Android aspect is pretty simple, it just calls ZXing and then throws the result to an HTML5 site.
Which, should make it easy to port to any other system.

Cadbury's API

As I've discussed before, Xpath is a wonderful thing. I've turned Cadbury's Nutrition Information site into an ersatz API.

I used Yahoo's YQL Console to construct a JSON feed of the dietary info.

Cadbury API

Which means we can display data like this for any of Cadbury's products:
Choc In Nutrition

What's Next

A number of people commented on how useful the dietary aspect was. As a vegetarian, I'm often a bit unsure as to which sweets are veggie friendly. I know coeliacs face similar issues.

Translating all of Cadbury's barcodes into their relevant ID numbers may prove a bit of a challenge - but it would be a good excuse to try every single one of Cadbury's products....

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4 thoughts on “Choc In To Joyville - Cadbury's Hackday”

  1. Thanks for coming Terence, I was happy to press play on your presentation for the judges!

    Your feedback is great and really helpful, as you say it was our first (of many we hope!) so there's plenty to learn. We did have soneone from the Twitter team helping support their API on the 2nd day but it would be nice to focus more closely on one next time as you say!

    See you then 🙂

  2. says:

    I think the Tesco API allows you to pass in a barcode and get nutritional information back, if you want to make the app more general.

    1. There's some nutritional info there - but sadly no vegetarian / gluten free. Good plan though - will look for other sources.


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