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Earlier this year, HCL Volt MX hosted our very first Hackathon! Eight-weeks, 4300 registrants, and countless great submissions later, we finally announced our winner: Vishal Vats.

In fact, Vishal not only came in first place overall, but he also won our award for Most Innovative App. After the hackathon, we got a chance to catch up with Vishal and ask him about his app Wishy and his experience learning Volt MX.

Check out the first part of our interview below:

Congratulations on winning the HCL Volt MX Hackathon! Can you briefly explain the project you worked on and what problem it aimed to solve?

Vishal: Thanks, the project that I worked on and submitted at the event is Wishy. In these busy times, we often forget to wish our loved ones on their special occasions. Wishy is an application that lets you add your contacts and then schedule automated email/SMS notifications for special days like birthdays, anniversaries, or even festivals, so that you never miss your loved ones and [can] even be the first person to wish them through personalized wishes.

What inspired you to participate in the hackathon and choose this particular project idea?

Vishal: I am actively participating in hackathons/events and got to know about the Volt MX Hackathon through the HackerEarth platform. The thing which intrigued me to use Volt MX is the fact that the platform provides a single low-code platform through which one can make complete standalone applications for mobile, web, desktop and even tablets. Isn’t that awesome?

I have been developing web applications for quite some time, but to make an Android/iOS application just by knowing the basics of JS really pushed me to participate in the event. Regarding the project idea, I had actually already thought before the event that I wanted to explicitly make an Android (mobile) application that can really elevate the automated wishing part. So, I had a blueprint in my head of how the backend will look. I was just waiting for an opportunity through which I can effectively portray my idea. Then I started shaping my idea into reality through the services provided by the Volt Iris application.

“I have been developing web applications for quite some time, but to make an Android/iOS application just by knowing the basics of JS really pushed me to participate in the event.”

How did you leverage the features and capabilities of Volt MX to create your solution? Were there any specific aspects or functionalities that were particularly helpful for your project?

Vishal: At the start, the platform seemed to be a bit daunting because of the number of various functionalities and properties panels popping up at almost every pixel of the screen space. But once I started using the software, everything made sense as all those panels provided me with thorough control over what I have to use in my project and how. I used almost every functionality provided by the platform.

Speaking of my favorite elements, I assume Segments (their page variants in general) were of great help to me because, firstly, I could define a segment template and then populate it with the data that I was receiving from Foundry. As the page variants of segments allowed me to present the data in a carousel form which added a lot of visual appeal to the application and thus I used it a couple of times in my project. The rich text division was also another cool variant apart from their normal text counterpart because I can use HTML code right in those and thus achieve specific things to an element without touching anything. Action flow dialogs also helped me a lot in putting the event listeners for an element in a single place.

How would you compare HCL Volt MX to other low-code development platforms or frameworks you have used in the past? What are its strengths and weaknesses in your opinion?

Vishal: I have not used any of such low-code platforms before Volt MX because I really love writing code and was always a fan of actually writing things by myself, rather than just having everything tailor-made by a framework or template. But I must admit, after using Volt MX, that is not the case because now I want to write only those things that are actually crucial to the application and leave the other things to the software.

“I used almost every functionality provided by the platform.”

Looking back, what were the most valuable lessons or insights you gained from participating in the hackathon as it relates to Volt MX?

Vishal: As mentioned earlier, I had a completely different landing page UI after the first deadline and I was really unhappy with the UI that will be presented to the users. I almost gave up on the idea of refining that due to the time constraints, but when the extension was announced I got the glimmer of hope that I can do that–and to no surprise, I did that. I learned that we should never step back from the things that we want to do and unexpected things happen if the cause is good.

Being a web developer, I was completely unaware of how the Android/iOS development ecosystem worked. But with the use of Volt MX, I got to have a peek at how things work for the handy mobiles and it was really exciting to actually make my first mobile-native application using the software. That made me feel that as a developer, its good to have knowledge/clarity of what has to be achieved and how that should be done (clear programming logic). If you have so then Volt MX definitely provides a place to turn your ideas into reality.

“Volt MX definitely provides a place to turn your ideas into reality.”

Thanks for chatting with us and sharing your insight, Vishal! Want to hear more from the HCL Volt MX Hackathon Winner? Next week, we’ll share the rest of our two-part interview.

If you want to see Vishal’s app for yourself, check it out in the Volt MX Marketplace.

Interested in learning Volt MX so you can start building some incredible apps on your own? Check out the Volt MX Bootcamp and get your Volt MX Certification.

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