In a nutshell, this story boils down to:
- 1 massive government tender
- 10,000,000 raised eyebrows
- 60 developers
- 3 days
- 2 platforms
- 1 fully functional e-shop for toll vignettes
How Did That Happen?
In the Czech Republic, obligatory toll vignette stickers for driving on highways are available for purchase in gas stations, post offices, and other locations, but they have not been available for purchase online — until now. Now, if anyone from the Czech Republic is reading this, you probably heard about the government tender process for the new vignette e-shop. Basically, the winning bid for the tender quoted over 400 million Czech crowns (CZK) for the project. That’s just short of 16 million USD. Yes, you read that correctly.
A Reaction in No Time
As you can imagine, this was met with public backlash and condemnation, but it was also met with a challenge. Tomáš Vondráček, the owner of Czech digital agency (and Kentico Gold Partner), Actum, sent out a call for action: a hackathon organized in Prague to develop a fully-functional e-shop in one weekend. The result, fairznamka.cz, was delivered on time and is now live in a Beta version. Ultimately, the public backlash, together with the incredible work by Actum and the 60 developers who took part in the hackathon (over 300 volunteered), led to the removal of the Minister of Transport and the scrapping of the tender.
Testing Functionalities and Doing Good
If you’d like to help test the functionalities of the new e-shop, you can buy a test vignette for a few cents to prove that the e-shop is up and running with all the functionalities required publicly in the tender. And the good deed? The revenue from these test vignettes goes to the Kolečko Foundation helping kids with severe injuries.
And the Technology…
A fully operational e-shop with mobile apps for Android and iOS was created. The e-shop is running on Kentico 12, which we happily provided for free in support of this hackathon. The second single-page app is running in React.js. The system is open for other apps through an API, while the central system is written in .NET Core running on Microsoft Azure Cloud. It also utilizes the Rasa chatbot for support, as well as the Vocalls voicebot.
The Story Doesn’t End There
Well done, Actum! Overall, the outcome shows just how powerful the motivation to do things differently can be and what a fantastic developer community there is in the Czech Republic. There was incredible excitement and tremendous cooperation surrounding this project. Even the Czech Prime Minister and other political leaders made an appearance at the hackathon.
In the upcoming days, we have more for you. Stay tuned.