You know what’s cooler than 500 developers? A 1000 developers!
PennApps - arguably world’s biggest college hackathon hosted 1000 developers from universities around the world earlier this month.
If you’re not familiar with PennApps, it is University of Pennsylvania’s bi-annual 48-hour hackathon event where the University’s best programmers and entrepreneurs team up over a weekend to build amazing applications.
This being my 5th PennApps, I’ve had the privilege of seeing it grow into what it is today. From the days of 150 developers to 1k plus developers. From one aisle full of developers to 6 levels each spread across two buildings plus the library.
Every edition of PennApps witnesses an improvement in it’s planning, organization, quality of hacks and the 2013 Fall edition was no different. The results were amazing.
Hosting 1000 developers over a weekend is no mean task, but the organizing committee (comprised of only students) did a phenomenal job. Hats off.
The event kicked off on Friday with the API demos in the Irvine Hall at the beautiful UPenn campus in Philadelphia.
Given the volume of hacks built, the demos were broken into two rounds. The first round involved teams submitting short demo videos of their apps explaining what they’d built. The judges then watched each of these videos to come up with a list of top 20 hacks, who then had the opportunity to demo in front of the huge audience at the Irvine Hall.
In addition, this year there was also an inclusion of science fair style demos. Hosted at the historic Palestra Gymnasium - where Penn men’s and women’s basketball games, volleyball and wrestling matches are played. Palestra is the most storied gymnasium in the history of collegiate athletics and was a perfect place for 1000 plus developers to show sponsors and judges what they have built.
Some cool Mashery hacks
- Juke - lets you control music at social gatherings via text messages. Powered by Rdio & Twilio #PennApps - SMS-controlled pay-to-play jukebox.
- Race to the International Space Station - a web app that allows people to race together by connecting their RunKeeper, Nike and Garmin accounts and compete in a 450 mile, year long, round trip race to the ISS and back. Uses Active.com’s API to find races/marathons taking place around you.
- RVRB - An online cloud-based music mixing platform that lets you play multiple tracks together at the same time. Pulls track meta data using Rovi’s Search API.
- Remind me gmail - Whether you’re a student scouring email lists to find used textbooks or anxiously awaiting a decision email, there is no reason for you to have to check your email 24/7. Maximize efficiency. Minimize spam.
Best app built using Mashery
Netfixxed - A Netflix wrapper that aggregates Netflix content streaming from all countries and gives you the tools to watch movies not available in the United States. In addition, uses Rotten Tomatoes integration to give users access to great data and help make easy viewing decisions. Also integrates video for a social component of watching movies and discussing them.
Michael from Team Netfixxed won the prize for “Best app built using Mashery API Network”
….and Michael’s loot for the win - a Ping Pong Training robot, Complete tennis kit and a thousand ping pong balls!