by Brendan Ryan on May 02, 2018
You don’t need to provide developers months of lead time to create powerful applications on Relativity, especially if you host a pig roast.
In addition to the innovations available in the Relativity App Hub, custom Relativity applications are being built every day by a number of Relativity Custom Development Partners, who work with the platform’s APIs (and solution providers, firms, and corporations in the Relativity community) to extend the e-discovery software’s capabilities in productive and profitable ways.
If a recent hack-a-thon organized by one of those Development Partners is any indication, the secret to cooking up a sweet new application might include a celebratory feast.
Last month, NSerio hosted their third hack-a-thon. The venue was Nserio’s development office in Bogota, Colombia, the participants were many of Nserio’s more than two dozen engineers, and the loser was a 40-lb. hog, a typical Colombian celebratory dish also known as lechona.
“From noon on Thursday through 5 p.m. Friday, the teams were hard at work, cranking out a lot of code and very little sleep with stacks of energy drinks keeping them moving,” said Juan Ramirez, founder and CEO of NSerio. “Before we asked them to demo what they built, they got a much-deserved break at a pig roast.”
A panel of five judges participated in the hack-a-thon, including Charlie Connor, co-founder of Relativity Developer Partner Heretik; Troutman Sanders eMerge Director of Legal Technology Chris Haley; Bricker & Eckler Litigation Support Manager David Hasman; Relativity Senior Product Manager Rene Laurens; and Relativity Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships Drew Deitch. The group—all leaders in the current wave of innovation on the Relativity development platform—took advantage of the time in NSerio’s offices (while the competitors worked on their apps) to brainstorm and strategize about the continued growth of the Relativity Developer community and ecosystem.
At the end of the day, though, the trip was all about the hack-a-thon: seeing innovation in action, encouraging some friendly competition, and recognizing participants’ efforts (prizes included spa trips and 360° cameras).
“Determining the hack-a-thon winner was honestly really tough,” said Drew. “We had high expectations because this crew has been building on Relativity for six years. Still, the apps they demonstrated for us were way cooler than we even expected. It’s amazing how fast these developers were able to go from idea to fully functional applications.”
The apps entered into the contest, fellow judge Chris Haley pointed out, were not a re-packaging of existing functionality, but original ideas, built from scratch during this 30-hour event. “I know it was all in the spirit of flexing their muscles and letting loose a little, but what they created can solve real issues that we face every day so I encouraged them to find ways to bring some of the applications to market.”
Juan isn’t ruling this idea out. He’s staying mum for now, but says he’s planning some big things for NSerio in the coming year.
- The overall winner was Reli, a virtual assistant that serves up answers to queries about an organization’s Relativity environment and executes commands to save administrators time, providing users with key information about agents, workspaces, users, groups, and more, as well as custom queries with designated answers, such as a message of the day. All served up by a ‘brainy’ virtual assistant right on your screen.
- An application called Relativity Homepage, a personalized entry point with user-centric links, won in the “most creative” category. Users can view and jump straight into their recent documents, frequent or recent workspaces, or their top fields, searches, and layouts … all from a personalized landing page specific to that user.
- The team who built a note-taking app was recognized for having the best presentation. Their app allows users to replace common third-party note apps in their workflows, storing all sensitive information directly in Relativity, and avoiding the potential data security issues inherent in creating work product outside of Relativity.
- Other applications included Real Budget, a cost-control solution for review projects, and Social Storm, an integration that community managers would find just as valuable as forensics professionals.
“Events like these help me realize the depth, not just the breadth, of the developer program,” said Drew. “This is one dev partner creating jobs and a strong workplace culture in Colombia. There’s TSD in Bulgaria, Anexsys in the UK—the community is building useful applications on Relativity all over the world. It’s work worth celebrating.”
NSerio is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, with development operations in Bogota, Colombia totaling more than 30 technical employees and two dozen developers—and growing, with plans to double that number in the next 1-2 years.
Brendan Ryan is a vegetarian and Relativity's senior manager of community and customer advocacy, the team who catalyzes the network effect of successful end users, customers, and partners. Specifically, he supports the marketers who manage The Relativity Blog, as well as Relativity's Academic Partner program, social media engagement, and Community site.