Horizon Newsletter • November 16, 2022
Super Speed! Results From XBE’s First Raftaar Hackathon

At XBE we believe in being effective first, efficient second. That’s why earlier this year we introduced an ongoing, company-wide hackathon series designed to drive innovation, collaboration and impact to ensure the XBE platform stays ahead of our customers’ needs.

We kicked things off this summer with the first Jugaad event, our feature-based hackathon to drive the effectiveness of the XBE platform. And on November 2nd, we launched the inaugural Raftaar, our performance-based hackathon to drive the speed and stability on the platform.

The Raftaar event mobilized three teams of XBE engineers who raced to make performance-based improvements starting at sunrise in Goa, India and ending at sunset in Kansas City, Missouri. They focused on speed, collaboration, and plenty of friendly trash talk.

At the finish line, the results included three innovative improvements with immediate impact:

#1: Agile Driver Day Navigation, presented by Team Faaast and Furry-ous
Juliana Thayil (Captain), Shirish Parsekar, Milind Alvares, Jessica Paes, and Jake Strothcamp

Team Fassst and Furry-ous made Driver Day Navigation faster and more succinct with:

  • Increased loading speed
    • The new view loads quickly and efficiently, fetching just what it needs.
  • Streamlined navigation
    • No more back-and-forth toggling between pages for driver days - the display now includes a sidebar listing all the other driver days for quick reference.
    • New keyboard shortcuts (ctrl + J for previous, ctrl + K for next) to allow a quick review of driver days in sequence
  • Reduced visual clutter with user-selected focus
    • The options bar at the top now allows a user to configure the view to show/hide options based on need, allowing a focused view of the financials
    • Bonus feature: View other driver days for the selected driver! At the top right of the selected driver day, a calendar drop down allows viewing other days for the same driver. This is currently available at the branch level, but we expect to enhance this view with more shortcuts and functions and also leverage within in other screens in the platform

“It was amazing to see how a single day’s work could make such a great impact on the app’s performance,” Juliana Thayil, Captain of Team Faaast and Furry-ous, said. “Our team had a triple threat attack on removing excessive loading, cleaning calculations meta, and manufacturing a whole new way of navigating driver days that’s much better than clicking and waiting.”

#2: Accelerated Speeds on Data Heavy Screens, presented by The Leftovers
Pankaj Kataria (Captain), Sean Devine, and Colenso Castellino

Data heavy screens were no match for this team of engineers wanting to serve customers faster! Check out these page speed ups:

  • Lineups: 65% faster
  • Incident: 58% faster
  • Active Shifts: 57% faster

That’s not all - the team also optimized the way that large lists of records are loaded on over 100 screens in the app.

“The Raftaar is a perfect example of how much a team can achieve in a short amount of time as long as the goals are well defined,” said Pankaj Kataria, Team Captain of The Leftovers. “We aimed high and hit big! In one day we were able to speed up the heaviest pages in the app to be as fast for our largest customers as they used to be for our smallest customers.”

#3: Don’t Look At The Pull Request, presented by The HyperloopERs
Naiya Shah (Captain) Benjamin Fleischer and Hassan Shaikh

An obvious-in-hindsight idea to add GZip (web request body compression) middleware resulted in a 92% savings in payload size for many screens, which is particularly meaningful for users with slower internet connections.

In addition, The HyperloopERs had some good feedback related to The Leftovers’ project that resulted in additional speed improvements and less database stress.

“The Raftaar event is a great opportunity to step out of the day-to-day and uncover opportunities that can make a huge difference,” Benjamin Fleischer from The HyperloopERs, said. “Being able to equalize the performance across Internet speeds will hopefully help drive greater utilization regardless of the location of the work and type of device used.”

On top of these three significant improvements, we created this killer playlist to help keep us going during the Raftaar. You can judge our music taste only after you judge our hackathon improvements!

Want to kickstart our next Raftaar or Jugaad?
We welcome any and all feature- and performance-related ideas. Maybe they’ll be developed during our next big event. Maybe sooner!

Do you know someone who would love this kind of work environment?
They should consider joining our team! If their values match ours, please tell them to apply.