BackCountry Hackathon 2012: Informatech Wins API Category

A little late to be sure but no less significant, given that I wanted to write about this at the same time.

On September 22-23, Adriana Jara, Johan Rodríguez and myself participated in the first-ever BackCountry Hackathon 2012. Here we are at the beginning of the event.

What we did

Adriana had the fantastic idea of using the competition APIs to build a comment and review search engine, and thus Community Mining was born.

The APIs gave us data in JSON, so using a proxy webserver we queried the data and in JavaScript analyzed, graphed, and displayed the results.

Our tech stack included:

  • Tomcat 7
  • jQuery & jQuery UI
  • YUI Grids
  • Raphaël Vector Library
  • Lots of JavaScript code

We completed the main feature set about an hour before the deadline, and our app proudly ran in desktop, smartphone and tablet browsers.

What does it look like? Well here you go:

What was learned

Speaking from a strictly personal perspective, I have to say that after the rush of more than 36 hours of work, and the pride of feeling “I still got it”, wore off. The main takeaway was: you have to choose your team well.

Your teammates must be talented. Sometimes, less people is actually better, as it allows easier coordination (that was the case here). And very importantly you have to trust the people next to you not to blow up when the stress is high. Adriana and Johan certainly fit the bill.

All in all good fun.

– Michael Holst


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