For the fifth episode of OpenHive.JS, the podcast for all things JavaScript from NearForm, hosts James Snell and Matteo Collina sit down with three of their NearForm colleagues to discuss what it takes to build an effective Covid-19 contact tracing app.

Technical director Colm Harte, senior product designer Kevin Devine and delivery architect Shaun Baker have spent the past several weeks building contact tracing apps for governments around the world — including the highly successful COVID Tracker Ireland app.

Representing a broader team of NearForm software engineers and designers working on these apps, Colm, Kevin and Shaun join OpenHive.JS to dive deeper into the design and build process. In addition to the specific technology choices made, they get into the unique challenges the app development team have faced since NearForm was first approached for Covid apps in late March.

“From a project perspective, you have a lot of different groups that need to feed into this. This is a public health application. It’s not just a technical solution that’s needed,” explains Colm Harte, technical director and the project lead behind Ireland’s COVID Tracker app.

“There’s a lot of things that have to wrap around that as well. If you think about all the privacy concerns of an application like this, the process you have to go through in order to get the Data Protection Commissioner approval. So key to success really was very effective collaboration across all the different groups that were involved.”

As you’d expect for a podcast dedicated to JavaScript, James and Matteo ask the team about the various open source technologies and projects used in building contact tracing apps, from AWS staples to proven projects like Fastify.

Episode 5 is available now, streaming on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and most players. Click here to find your preferred player link and other episodes of OpenHive.JS, and be sure to subscribe so you always know when a new episode is available.

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