Video Transcript


Batkid Saves the Day in SF

Editor's Note: This is a guest post from Jonathan Cipriano, creative developer based in San Francisco currently working as a Creative Research & Development Manager at AKQA.

A few weeks back, the Make-a-Wish Foundation made a 5-year old cancer survivor named Miles dream come true by helping him play out a Batman-style adventure in San Francisco. The city was morphed into Gotham for a day with the help of 12,000 volunteers. A rescue mission turned the pint-sized crusader into a social media sensation. Miles became Batkid for a day.

Inspired by his story, some creative devs at AKQA thought it would be fitting to memorialize the heroic event with an interactive comic book, and created it on Heroku.

The Batkid Lives On

By using images of the #SFBatkid shared through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr, our creative team chronicled Miles' adventure as he raced from rescue to rescue, saving the city from crime and earning himself a key to the city from Mayor Ed Lee himself.


To best tell Miles’ digital story in a timely and seamless way, the batkid website needed to be designed and developed within a few days using a platform that could be easily managed without significant knowledge of server setup and configuration. Naturally, Heroku was an automatic choice. We have all of our source code on GitHub and we were able to deploy the site with custom DNS in literally minutes. With the Heroku CLI, deploying an application only takes 2-3 commands in the terminal.

Node.js is becoming very popular with us for rapid prototyping. The learning curve is super low for front-end developers who already know javascript well. The availability of node modules also enables developers to get a running application in no time. For thebatkid.com we developed a small node.js application to aggregate all of the incoming Twitter photos that we would potentially use in the comic. Following the Getting Started with Node.js tutorial we had the express.js application developed and deployed within a few hours.

What we ended up creating is something that is actually very simple technically speaking. However, from our experience, even simple projects can suffer if you can't get them live when you need it to. Heroku allowed us to get up and running quickly without the dev-ops overhead, so we could just concentrate on creating a cool comic book for Miles Scott (aka The Batkid).

Art Director: John Ta, Michael Dooley, Ben Pang
Copywriter: Keith Hostert, Alex Gavin
Developer: Mikko Tormala, Jonathan Cipriano

Originally published: December 04, 2013

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