Last week, we set aside a Hack Day to work on mini-projects. This is a chance to work with new or different technologies and to build something small that we can get to you that might not be along the major roadmap of Happier features.
I’m Parker, I work mostly on what we call the “backend” of Happier. This means I take care of storing and retrieving your moments and smiles. This presents a bit of a problem for a Hack Day project where I want to get something out that users can see, but my expertise really lies in databases and servers. To deal with that I teamed up with Brian, our iOS expert, to be able to display the results in the iPhone app.
For many months, I’ve wanted to be able to do language analysis on public moments. And although all these features would be great to build, they all rely on being able to parse out the meaningful phrases in your moments. That would probably take a week to do correctly, and there’s always something better we could be building with that week.
When the Hack Day came around, this seemed like a great candidate. I’d do as much as I could in the 24 hours, and see what we come up with. The hope was to come up with a handful of interesting phrases you used in your moments, and then Brian would show them to you on your profile. And we did just that. In a coming version, you’ll be able to see which things make you the Happierest. Of course, it’s not perfect– if you get phrases that don’t make sense there, let us know and I’ll repair them. But hopefully some of you see it as a fun little rollup of what you’ve been saying in your happy moments.
Once this was done, I had on my hands a list of every phrase in every public happy moment of all time. Just for fun, I threw them in a word cloud to share with the team. And because I still had a few hours, I wrote some code to generate them for a single user, and made them for the whole Happier team.
And as the minutes of the Hack Day wound down, I found myself with this fun little program that would make a word cloud for any user, and I’m sure many of you would like to see yours. It would be a shame if you guys couldn’t get your own word clouds. So I did what any somewhat sneaky engineer would do– I snuck it into the product. Reading this blog post will be the first anyone on the team– even Nataly– has heard about it. There’s a secret way to get your word cloud out of the Happier app. It works with both web and ios, and it’s been there for a while. I also know that no user has found it yet.
Maybe you will be the first? Happy hunting!