Friday, May 22, 2015

Pre-Ignite Hackathon Report


January 2nd and 3rd, Saturday and Sunday before Microsoft Ignite sported a hackathon organized by Andrew Clark. Being a hacking kind of guy I joined up together with Chris Givens, Shannon Bray and my colleague Espen Olsen (who bailed on us on Sunday).

The task was to pick one of five community problems and use Office 365 and/or Azure to solve it in 24h. Coming straight from an over seas flight my mind was playing tricks on me, but we chose problem #4.


We ended up creating a Windows Phone app which tracked via GPS coordinates if you were inside the volunteering location, and as long as you stayed within the perimeter you would automatically log hours. We proved this by heading to the bar on Sunday, thus not logging hours Smile. We also had an MVC app backed by a SQL Azure database to store volunteers and tracking data, as well as WebAPI for the phone app communication. Not too complicated and code complete, despite what Jeremy Thake thought Winking smile

The event itself was very cool and had a mix of other consultants, college kids and high school kids. Some who had never coded. Microsoft provided tech rangers to help out and a crowd of MVP’s also hung around to help out. And did those kids know how to present! Awesome job. I especially want to credit the Chicago Math & Science Academy who placed #2, but was my favorite.

The venue itself was located non-centrally in Chicago and was a rec-center type room with a door hidden along a long brick wall. And yes, I was wondering if I had come to the right place or not when my cabbie dropped me off.


Chris, Shannon and me in deep coding thoughts.


Me trying to get new GPS coordinates during our demo presentation which totally tanked! And I’m wearing my coding cape. It feels better than it looks – honestly.

Andrew is above average concerned about food and made sure we were properly fed during the event. Microsoft Ignite should contact him and have him do their catering next time – because he did A LOT better than they did.


If I ‘m heading back for Ignite next year, I will definitely join in on this event again –and have to shape up a lot to compete in the top! #FTW

1 comment:

  1. Hey Mikael, thank you for sharing this account of the pre-hackathon events. Usually, it's hard to find a behind the scenes view on a tech conference, unless you are actually there. I think the idea of taking a enterprise tool like Azure and trying to improve it. Great work and keep it up!

    Lucius Cambell @ Skild