Bloomreach Hackathon 2018

​ Niklas Winkels

​ 2018-08-13

Doesn't it sound familiar? You have this great idea but swamped by work and other priorities so you just can't get the time to try it out?

That's why Hackathons are great (and becoming more and more important)! 100% focus on new ideas, the freedom to collaborate and to spend time on the things that don't necessarily have the highest priority at work. Hackathons are exciting! Especially internally, it helps teams get to know who to go to, across departments, for different skills and specialities.

In the midst of heatwave-like temperatures in Europe, Bloomreach organized its annual internal Hackathon!

At this year's Bloomreach Hackathon, 15 teams across 5 offices and remote locations like Amsterdam, Bangalore, Mountain View, Boston, Malta and Dallas joined the fun and spent 3 days exploring new ideas.

Without further ado, here is a look behind the scenes, a quick rundown of the projects.

Shopping Assistant in the Chat Box

Ever wondered what a digital, data-driven, personal shopping assistant looks like?  By using the Bloomreach Search and Merchandising API's the team behind this project build an assistant that delivers an enhanced shopping experience. Based on the visitors' interests, the chatbot delivers personalised suggestions to help find an buy the right products.


Adding related Themes for Thematic Pages

Bloomreach automatically generates thematic pages for merchants but sometimes merchandisers also want to create landing pages for specific themes themselves. These landing pages would ideally include links to related themes. The team behind this project created a neat widget that automatically creates links to other related themes. This not just improves better linking of the thematic pages but is also beneficial for the SEO value.


Cross-Platform Pixel Integration - Open Data

Bloomreach collects a lot of data on your website including, for example, click information and search information. Making this information accessible ties in well with Bloomreachs' Open Data Philosophy. The team behind this project built an open data platform passing information collected on the client-side and, after applying filters of your choice, passes it to any third-party vendor.


Implementing POCs in a Day

Proof of Concepts (POCs) are a powerful tool to directly show customers the value proposition of your product. Unfortunately, they are also quite resource-intensive and take up many hours. During the Bloomreach Hackathon 2018, the team created 2 automated tools. A useful POC Config Generator Tool that allows automated mapping of all of Bloomreach standard and dynamic fields as well as a UI Framework Tool that allows easy and impressive rendering of the customer website.


QoL Improvements for the Bangalore Office

Running a large office comes with its own challenges. Daily office tasks can become cumbersome over time. The team behind this project build an office portal and automated speed tests, meal cancellation and the management of IT assets.


Enrich Content Driven Pages Independently

Content-driven pages are currently not possible to individually edit via drag-and-drop components in the CMS. Nuno Mendes took it upon him during the Hackathon to solve this issue by unlinking the sitemap and creating a new page that has a separate configuration.   



Bloomreach Experience migrations can be hard. During the 2018 Hackathon, Minos Chatzidakis looked at and evaluated several ETL tools to generate connectors that execute EXIM's code and use the BRE's REST pump to facilitate the migration process.


Advanced Performance Monitor

Performance issues and especially memory consumption can easily become an issue with an open and extensible platform like Bloomreach Experience. The team behind this project integrated with the CMS and created a custom Open UI view to be able to monitor performance and execute and cancel tasks on the fly.


Move Image Processing and Management to the Cloud

Images take up a lot of storage and processing them is memory and CPU intensive. The team behind this project moved image management and processing to the cloud and added AI/ML capabilities such as intelligent image analysis. It's loosely coupled and features a kick-ass search.


Re-imagining the CMS UI

The current CMS user interface is using too many web frameworks which makes customizations hard. The team was looking for a durable framework that could solve this issue. So, why not use the HST? Within 2 days the team build a functional UI prototype by only using the HST.


Good Search, Bad Results, Ugly Workflow

When you build a great product search, you also need to know where your current search is lacking behind. To find poor search queries, the team behind this project used a Natural Language Processing (NLP) framework to create lemmas of hyponyms of the most common synonyms. This spits out a handy list to test your product search against.


Geo from merchant

Preparing for a trade show means reaching out to the right people. Oftentimes organizers send over lousy data which leaves SDRs with a lot of manual work. The team behind this project used free APIs by Google to find the correct address of company headquarters to assign the correct person to an account.


Bringdown redshift costs drastically by exploring cooler and smarter ways of data warehousing

Currently, Bloomreach stores over bytes of analytics data per year which results in significant data warehousing costs. By using a Parquet converter and EMR the team behind this project stored data that is older than one year on S3 rather than Redshift which results in measurable cost savings.


Improving semantic relevance for new domain customers

To contextually better understand user intentions when doing a search query, the team behind this project built a tool based on the concept of latent semantic indexing. When a user searches ,for example, the word ‘apple’, they would ultimately fall under a context based on the technology, the fruit or the juice, depending on which cluster they fall into.


Redesign of

Great tutorials and documentation are vital for a successful customer. You want the strive for an easy onboarding and learning curve so customers feel right at home with your product. The team behind this project took a hard look at and its first impression on prospects and customers. Within just 2 hours the team designed a beautiful new UI and deployed to production.

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