Today in APIs: First West Bank Hackathon Illustrates Palestinian Tech Ecosystem

West Bank hackathon signals growth in the Palestinian tech ecosystem. Inbox aims to compete with Gmail with API for email app builders. Plus: game developers hail major iOS graphics upgrade, and the problem with easy APIs.

First Ever West Bank Hackathon Held in Jericho

Last week a Rmallah-based hotel booking site, Yamsafer, held the first hackathon in the West Bank, dubbed Codechiefs. 16 Palestinian coders, from university students to Yamsafer employees worked in teams over the course of 3 days to create apps.

West bank hackathon

As Magnus Petersen-Paask reports in Wamda, the projects that teams chose reflected both universal interests in every hackathon and some localized concerns as well:

One team worked on a social app that would allow people to follow their friends’ specific feeds on social networks (e.g. listen to all music from selected friends or curate all links), another team worked on a system that would write automatic reviews based on the inputs given, while the third team built a tool to help Yamsafer make better decisions on which hotels to bring into the fold. My team built an app to help people living in the West Bank alert each other to road closures due to clashes or military checkpoints.

The winning team was the author of the hack to write automatic reviews.

New Email Platform Inbox by MIT and Dropbox Alums to Compete with Gmail APIs

Inbox is a new email platform that, like the Gmail APIs, aims to have third parties offer new email apps to users. But they have a bigger goal: create a new email standard that does away with IMAP.


As Sarah Perez writes in Techcrunch,

There are a handful of apps on Inbox already, including a few demos on GitHub using the Inbox SDKs ( JavaScript or iOS). With the Inbox API, developers can access REST endpoints for retrieving, modifying and sending email, as well as building custom filters, accessing attachments, creating drafts, and more. Grinich also points out that developers can build using the Inbox APIs for free, without sending email data to a third-party.

Apps for Inbox are already being created. The Inbox API offers REST endpoints. The APIs are free and do not need to send email data to third parties. API documentation is available.

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