We love hackathons! They’re great for building awesome hacks, meeting cool like-minded people, learning, innovation and for sharing ideas. For us they’re also a fantastic opportunity to show off our technology. When building a hack, or kicking off a start-up product or service, it’s really rewarding to see that we make it possible to add realtime functionality to an application within 5 minutes – and that’s exactly what a number of startups and ideas saw this weekend.
Collaborative note taking platform
This app (official name to be announced) lets students take and share lecture notes with their classmates. The focus on collaboration and crowdsourcing is a great idea which really benefits from realtime functionality. The app won “People’s Choice” and “Most likely to succeed” awards. It was great to see how replacing AJAX polling with Pusher not only added a “wow-factor”, but also reduced the complexity of the codebase.
Overhead.co is an app initially focusing on University communities who love to share things that they’ve overheard. The fun theme of the application is mirrored by the attitude of the guys who built the first version of the app over the weekend powered by Red Bull, espresso and pizza. It was great to be able to sit down with them and add realtime “new post” notifications to their app.
Collaborapp is a native iPad application which lets the user draw, highlight text, add images and more. Those changes are instantly pushed, via Pusher, to a web application where they are displayed to any viewing users. The first version of the application used AJAX polling which we managed to swap out in a matter of minutes to use Pusher. This means the web server resources can be saved to deal with application logic rather than struggling with polling requests.
Realtime was unsurprisingly one of the recurring themes for the weekend and was core to a number of other applications – a shout goes out to TrvlMeet – connect with backpackers, Lonobo – realtime local noticeboard and Pythia – track and detect events on Twitter.
Congratulations and thanks to Ben Manton and Mark Pearson for organising a great event. We’re looking forward to being involved in more hackathons and are co-hosting our own in the form of London Realtime.