Daniel Westheide

on making software

Advance Hackathon 2012: A Retrospective

Last weekend, I attended the Advance Hackathon 2012, which was hosted at the Coworking Space Gasmotorenfabrik in Cologne. Even though I had been intending to participate at such an event for a long time, this was indeed my first hackathon.

There were 80-90 people working on 20 projects from Saturday, 10am to Sunday 4pm. All of the projects were very interesting, and most of them managed to make a lot of progress in the course of the weekend.

The project I was involved in is called lunjure. Our goal was to create a lunch planner as a single-page HTML5 web application that is written in pure Clojure and ClojureScript, making use of web sockets for most of the communication between the client and the server. While we didn’t finish this project in the short time of the hackathon, we managed to implement all of the core functionality and will probably continue working on it. If nothing else, it is certainly a nice demo project showcasing the usage of the aforementioned technologies.

The only minor complaint I have to make is this: Everybody who had submitted a project idea was to pitch it on Saturday morning in order to find interested developers. However, my impression was that least 80 percent of the participants had already formed teams before the hackathon, and that for the most part, people who already knew each other worked together in a team. This is okay, of course (and maybe my impression is completely wrong anyway), but it made the whole pitching process somewhat redundant.

Nevertheless, it was an amazing weekend, and all the people involved in the organization did an outstanding and highly professional job, and what little need for improvisation arose once in a while was handled very gracefully. Also, the whole atmosphere was very friendly and cooperative. I would definitely like to see an Advance Hackathon 2013.