Doug Toppin's Blog

My thoughts on technology and other stuff

MoDevUX Hackathon!

I participated in the MoDevUX (Mobile Device User Experience) Hackathon last Saturday and it was an excellent experience.  There were around 15 teams with the intent of each developing and demonstrating an app that day.  The team that I was a part of worked on a social app where someone could send gifts to a friend to be picked up at a specific location.  The first couple of hours involved concept and design work.  The next 6 hours or so were division of labor, development and integration work.  The group worked well together in general but we had some confusion a couple of times about exactly what was being done.  I was hoping to integrate in an augmented reality (AR) portion where the giftee would be able to find their gift using their phone/tablet camera.  I was not able to get this working as an entirely new app (we could not use an existing application and modify it) so I am planning on getting better at spinning up a new one more quickly.  I also discovered that there were a few practical aspects (table view and data source handlers) that I need some practice on.  We completed most of the app but could have used an additional couple of hours to add maps and a QR code reader that I had as a backup option. One of the most valuable aspects of participating was the opportunity to see creativity and rapid application development combined.  Several of the teams came up with very innovative ideas and it will be interesting to see if they continue their work all the way to publishing it.  Most teams were composed of from 3 to 6 people with a couple being one person.  One team had an 11 year old developer and another had a 14 year old designer.  Everyone had a great time. All in all this was an excellent experience and I recommend participating in hackathons to anyone interested in mobile applications and innovation.