Half Hour Hacks at IWMW09

23 07 2009

In today’s guest blog post Tony Hirst, who blogs at http://ouseful.info/ invites developers and hackers at IWMW 2009 to join in a series of ‘half hour hacks’.


If, like me, your mind wanders whenever you’re in a conference session that lasts longer than your shattered attention span can cope with, you might find that your thoughts turn towards a doing a half hour hack.

In response to the IWMW event organisers’ call to set up a range of informal developer lounge activities, myself and Mike Ellis will be sharing a few tricks about rapid tinkering on the web in our Tuesday workshop session and then wherever or whenever else you can pin us down…

I also thought it might be fun to lay down a half hour hack challenge. The rules are simple: if you find yourself in a session that doesn’t interest you, come up with the idea for a quick hack inspired by the current talk or the presenter, implement it (or someone else’s tweeted idea) and post it before the session is over. Think of it as a bit like a geek developer version of word association. Tweet when you start, tweet when you finish (with a link to a working demo), and then we can lobby Brian for a prize for the quickest’n’useful-est half-hour hacks of the conference.

My own preference for half hour hacks is to: a) only use tools that can be accessed through a web browser, (so obviously, if the WiFi is flakey, I’m stuffed…;-) and that b) are publicly accessible. So YQL, Yahoo Pipes, Google docs, Google maps, Dapper and Many Eyes are all allowed, as are client side Javascript frameworks, Greasemonkey scripts and user interface libraries.

Any data you use should come from wherever you can find it, although access to it should not require authentication.

Part Scrapyard Challenge, part Ready Steady Cook, have you got a half hour hack in you?:-)


Tony Hirst is an itinerant academic in the Department of Communication and Systems, and member of the Socialearn core project team. He blogs regularly about educational Web technologies and RSS feed powered mashups at http://ouseful.info/ (although most of his readers would being admit to being confused by most of the posts, most of the time).

Tony will be facilitating a parallel session entitled “Mashups Round the Edges” with Mike Ellis.

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2 responses

24 07 2009
IWMW2009 Blog

[…] the Developer Lounge Show and Tell session on the final morning of IWMW 2009. Tony Hirst has already encouraged developers at the event too engage in half-hour hacking sessions. Will there be another song and dance routine […]

24 07 2009
Developer’s Lounge at IWMW 2009 « IWMW2009 Blog

[…] the Developer Lounge Show and Tell session on the final morning of IWMW 2009. Tony Hirst has already encouraged developers at the event too engage in half-hour hacking sessions. Will there be another song and dance routine […]




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