Mashery Developer Blog

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Hacker League Updates for Spring 2014

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three months since Mashery acquired Hacker League. Helping the team get up to speed and planning out the future of the platform has been an amazing experience. I’m super excited for things to come and I’ve got a couple of things I want to share with you that we’ve been working on:

1. Hacker League Enterprise Beta is ready for Mashery API Management customers

Back by popular demand, Hacker League Enterprise is now available as a beta program for Mashery API Management customers. Hacker League Enterprise is designed for companies that want to take advantage of all the great features they’ve come to expect from Hacker League, but on their own private instance of the software for internal hackathons or private partner challenges.

Here’s a list of the features you can expect:

  • A private, password-protected landing page for your event (when, where, why)
  • Your own separate, private instance of the software
  • A custom hostname, e.g. yourcompany.hackerlegue.org
  • Registration for hackers and other participants
  • Wikipages with additional info (for prizes, directions, sponsors, winners, etc)
  • Event announcements & updates for attendees
  • Team formation and hack submission tools
  • Export hacks tool for judging and analysis (see announcement below)
  • Gallery of finished products

2. Hacker League Judging Tool

We’ve long been on the quest for best practices regarding judging at the hundreds of hackathons we’ve organized, judged, or even competed in ourselves. Should it be an app? Should it be online? Should it be on paper? Are there shared judging access tools?

Ultimately, what we’ve found in practice is that judging hackathons is the most fair and most objective when both technology and human judgment are maximized. Online judging tools we have used as hackathon judges look slick, but in practice are slow and can unfairly penalize teams competing in a hackathon by locking in their score too early, before judges have gathered to consider every demo and confer with each other. Online judging tools can actually give unfair advantage or disadvantage to a team based on the order in which it was presented to the judges rather than merit of the prototype itself. We’ve seen it happen at hackathons, and we don’t think that is fair.

Here’s how it works with our Hacker League Judging tool -

  1. Export the list of hacks into a CSV spreadsheet (think Google spreadsheet) using Hacker League’s built in “Export Hacks” feature. export hacks
  2. Add/edit columns for judging criteria customized for the objectives of an individual hackathon.
  3. Upload into a Judges Only, password-protected Google Doc or other secured, shared format for judging online. Or we’ve seen organizers print out copies of the judging sheet and hand it over to the judges to write notes and compare feedback, then enter the feedback back into the Judges Only area online only after judging is complete.

This offline/online hybrid judging process makes it super easy for hackathon judges to rate the apps and take notes objectively relative to all the other submissions they are judging at the hackathon. It’s also easy for developers competing in the hackathon, so they can concentrate more on “building” and not worry so much about jockeying for position when the organizers are lining up the demo order for judging panel.

The Hacker League Judging tool is especially useful at college hackathons, where the number of demos now exceed 200 and the first round of judging is done in a science expo manner where the judges walk around taking notes for each hack.

For instance, the WIPJam Hackathon at Mobile World Congress that took place in Barcelona last week used the recommended Hacker League Judging tool to manage and run 11 hackathons spread across various categories. Over 100 hacks were submitted on Hacker League. List of hacks was printed and handed over to the judges, which was then used for judging and communicating the demo order.

If you’re interested in learning more about Hacker League Enterprise beta and/or Hacker League Judging tool, drop us a line at organizers@hackerleague.org.

Happy hacking,

Swift
Founder, Hacker League

Amit
Front End Developer, Developer Evangelist

Notes

  1. masherydev posted this