Today in APIs: Microsoft Creates the "Hackfest"

Microsoft tweaks the hackathon format to create "hackfests" for individual companies. Women Coders Prominent at Hackathon in Myanmar. Plus: Google offers $100,000 in credits for its Cloud Platform service, and the relationship between interfaces and successful API design.

Microsoft Offers New Coding Development Format in Hackfests

Microsoft has started conducting "Hackfests" where coders meet with businesses to solve problems. Sound familiar? This is radically different from a hackathon. Think of it as a group of developers making house calls.


As Mary Jo Foley writes in ZDNET, a hackfest is organized around a single company's goals where Microsoft and the company meet one on one:

Though some use the terms "hackfest" and "hackathon" interchangeably, Microsoft's hackfest concept is not really like a traditional hackathon. ... While coding something together in Java, there might be an opening for a suggestion as to how something could be coded more efficiently with .Net than Enterprise Java Beans or another competing technology.

The idea isn't to steer away from a competitor, like iOS is for Microsoft. The goal is to help a company solve its hardest problems, and Microsoft developers have in fact helped create iOS apps as part of solutions. Recently, Microsoft worked with Edupoint, for example.

Women Coders Speed Forward at Hackathon in Myanmar

At a hackathon in early September in Myanmar, women coders were a competitive force to be reckoned with. Organized by, the 117 coders split into 24 teams and presented work at the end of an intense 48-hour event. Challenges were submitted by local businesses and included a request for an accounting app and a table reservation system for restaurants. As Internews reported, Myanmar is quite possibly a leading country for coders who are women:

A notable aspect of the hackathon was the number of coders from the winning teams who were women. While other technology communities around the world, including Silicon Valley in the United States, wrestle with the visibility of women, in this Myanmar appears to be setting an example for the rest of the world. Of the teams that came first and third all but two members were women.

First prize went to team Ace, who developed a comprehensive order fulfillment and delivery system. The first prize award included $2000 a tablet, a scholarship to the English language training center Edulink Australia, and copies of the book StartUp Focus for each member of the team.

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