Hackathon’s are pretty cool, but here in Portugal they’re also quite rare. For years we had Codebits, organized by the web dev arm of the biggest telecom provider in Portugal and it was sweet. Regretably though, 2014 was the last year it was organized. A €1B scandal and almost bankruptcy that forced the telecom provider to be sold to the highest bidder probably made sure Codebits would not return.
But people are cooler than companies, so the original founders of the conference/hackathon got together, now in a new company, and they put together an awesome come back of the most amazing event for hackers in Portugal. I can’t imagine all the work that went into putting it together. I’m also pretty sure it was the biggest attendance ever with over one thousand people in LX Factory. I remember previous ones having around eight hundred people, with a bigger venue. Things were cozy this year!
The venue - LX Factory
There are no tickets for sale. You apply with a profile and you pitch yourself for a spot. It helps if you’ve gone before and completed the hackathon challenge, but they accept loads of new people every year. You’ll also get in if you’re giving a talk, or qualified for the CTF security competition and so on. Basically you’re accepted if you can show that you’ll be a good sport and participate in a bunch of stuff (the most important one being the 48H hackathon).
Not only you have the main hackathon challenge where you’re supposed to produce a hack in 48 hours, and a full calendar of talks, there’s also a lot more going on:
I probably forgot something so here’s a nice video overview of the event:
My approach this year was to really focus on the hackathon. In previous years I tried to take in a bit of everything and even though that had been awesome, we never had a very polished product in the end. So this year, I sat down, came up with an idea with a friend in about one hour and we got to coding. I didn’t watch a single full talk (popped into a friend’s for moral support!) and went full steam ahead with coding.
./deploy.sh“build pipeline” and our app was live.
Our idea was a tinder-for-developers app where you sign up with GitHub and instead of swipping on pictures, you swipe on snippets of code. You’re then matched with people who also liked you back. We appropriately named it friendswithbenegits. Have some screenshots for posterity:
Home page of friendswithbenegits
The swipe page
Matches list page
Match chat page
After all this, we went to the main stage with all the other teams and presented our project. Regrettably the live stream had a problem somewhere in the middle so you can only watch the last 15 seconds of our presentation but the chat thing worked! And people seemed to laugh at our jokes during the slide-show even though there’s no video evidence to prove it. In the end I really liked a lot of projects and after all the voting was done we were very happy to get an award for the public’s vote. Got a bunch of prizes but most importantly, a huge trophy!!
Presenting on stage
Our team getting a trophy
A very happy bunch