16 developers and designers showed off their projects and many more participated at this weekend's API Hack Day PDX. The overall winner was an app that helps friends communicate about a planned event using an email and SMS hybrid. Others took on Portland government data and worked with multiple APIs to get details around a specific location. We list many of them in our Hackday Gallery.
- Planrrr (Brennan Novak and Oscar Godson) wants to make the act of planning easier. And it also didn't want to rely upon Facebook, Twitter or any other identity platform. Instead, it uses email and SMS, figuring most users have access to at least one of these. It also used a handful of APIs in its way to the grand prize: SendGrid, SimpleGeo, SimpleGeo Places and Twilio.
- Lookzi (Jami Dwyer) is an HTML5 page that presents loads of information about your current location. It uses a whole bunch of APIs, but won for its use of Outside.in and WeatherBug, which are both managed by Mashery.
- Visual Resume (Tantek Çelik and Erin Richey) shows a visual timeline of education and career history using the LinkedIn API and won a LinkedIn prize.
In addition to developers and designers, the event attracted technology employees from the City of Portland, there to discuss its PDXCouncilConnect API. The service provides details on city council agendas, locations and votes. Where many governments provide open data, Portland has made council schedules available as an API. That's the right choice for developers to easily use the data and it's also the easiest way to make sure applications have the latest data.
O'Reilly's Andy Oram attended the event and published his thoughts on Radar. Oram argues that government contests may not produce sustainable applications, a topic we have explored some in the pros and cons of government contests.
Of course, most projects completed in 8 hours require more work to make them sustainable. A hackathon is really for prototypes more than polished applications. Over the weekend in Portland we saw a number of apps that show promise if taken out of prototype mode. Hopefully we'll see their creators do just that.
For more on the submissions to API Hack Day PDX, check out the application gallery, which includes most of the demoed apps.