The Emojisaurus home page.

At the end of 2013, a few friends decided it’d be fun to enter Rails Rumble, a hackathon-style contest to make a working Rails app in one weekend.

Jamie Dihiansan, Javan Makhmali, Trevor Turk, and I joined forces and spent a couple days at the office, hacking away at a silly app that showed user-submitted translations of emoji glyphs into English sentences (and vice versa). We called these “emojigrams.”

The project ended up taking third place in the contest, and we figured that was the end of it.

But back then, emoji was still a new thing in the world. Soon after we launched the site, it became a somewhat legitimate Internet reference for this new form of communication. People started citing it, using it to draft up longform emoji messages, and posting all sorts of bizarre things.

A few translations.

After that, we started getting press requests, and ended up being interviewed in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today about it. For about 9 months we were “emoji experts,” just because we made a nonsense website in 2 days.

Shoutouts and credits:

  • Javan and Trevor did all the hard programming work.
  • Jamie came up with the logo and the visual style for the site—Cooper Black and yellow still looks fresh!
  • I handled all the gnarly UI design problems like entering emoji, which was annoyingly difficult then, and is still annoyingly difficult now.

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