Open Hack Day Bangalore by the numbers

It's been a few days since the amazing Open Hack day in Bangalore (Bengaluru), India, and we are still recovering from the event. As it was, it broke all the records we had from the 13 previous hack days.

Open Hack Day Bangalore 2010

The 2-day event in Bangalore's Taj Residency Hotel saw 472 hackers (plus 106 "Info Geeks" attending the presentations only) from these different parts of India: Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgart, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Uttatakhand, West Bengal and, of course, Karnataka.

Anil Patel, YDN International program manager, adds: I knew this event was going to be different from the moment we opened registration. The fact that almost 400 people registered within the first 24 hours should have set off some alarm bells! Over the next 6 weeks, registration hit the 2,000 mark, with developers wanting to attend from all corners of the country. Using past registration data and drop-off rates as a guide, I accepted the number of registrations that would get us approximately 400 through the door. In the end, I accepted around 1,100; on the day itself, a mind-boggling 578 developers arrived at the registration desk, a much lower drop-off rate than expected. Also, for the first time, we had a high percentage of developers coming in from outside the host state of Karnataka, with some developers flying in specially. One developer came from Indonesia as he missed the one we did in Jakarta.

The presentations

Before the 24-hour hacking period we had a few presentations. One presentation introduced what a hack really is:

What the hack?

The audio recording of this talk is available on archive.org.

Other introductions were to the Yahoo! User Interface library and the Yahoo! Query Language, as well as the Yahoo! Social tools and the Application platform.

Logistics: 4,800 cups of tea and coffee

With the addition of Yahoos and media representatives, the total number of people at the event tallied at just about 630 people.

If we venture for a short while into the biological world and away from IT and software, I can tell you about the amount of food and drink consumed. The following items provided sustenance for the attendees:

  • 1,200 litres of milk
  • 4,800 cups of tea and coffee
  • 875 kg of vegetables
  • 275 kg rice
  • 1,900 eggs
  • 320 kg chicken
  • 120 kg sugar
  • 240 cans of Red Bull

Another first for any of the hack days is that the wireless network never went down. This is especially noteworthy as the team had set up India's first 300 connection IPV6 network, and they even managed to ramp it up to the extra 200 connections needed on demand.

The hacks

Thus fuelled, the hackers managed to finish 110 hacks in 24 hours. Having that many hacks meant that overall the judges and the audience spent almost four hours looking at all of them — although folks kept to the normal 90-seconds time to present each hack.

Anil Patel, YDN International program manager, adds: Overnight, around 350+ developers stayed at the venue (again, the highest number we’ve had stay over for any Open Hack). By around 10:00 on Sunday morning, the energy levels started rising again as people started registering hacks. At 10:30, the hack.trackr showed that 40 hacks had been registered. When I came back 30 minutes later, it was 90. Then Christian ran over 30 minutes after that and said it was over 120 — I had to grip the chair in order to fend off the very quick panic attack I could feel coming on! In the end a staggering 110 hacks were presented over a 3.5 hour period. Almost all the hacks were presented within their 90 second allotment, and not one hacker used PowerPoint! Prizes included an xBox, iPod Nanos and Shuffles, and an iPad that was bought from the US (the iPad is not as yet available in India). The winner of the iPad almost fainted when he received his prize.

You can see the full list of hacks and learn about the winners and other outstanding hacks here. If you don't want to leave, here are the winners again:

  • Github Badges (source) by Brian Guthrie, Tejas Dinkar, and Mark Needham are a collection giving Warcraft-/xBox-style achievement badges for Github achievements.
  • Quizr by Prateek Dayal and Hemant Kumar is a quiz generator using Wikipedia and Flickr. The generated quizzes get pushed out to all the computers in the room live via HTML5 WebSockets.
  • FlickrSubz by BabuSrithar, Sudeep Nayak, and Parashuram enables realtime closed-captioning in multiple languages for videos on Flickr. The hack utilizes a speech-recognition engine (Julius for Linux, WSAPI for Windows) to display subtitles in the chosen language (translate API) for videos on Flickr via a GreaseMonkey script.
  • ChromYQLip (pronounced as Chromy-Clip) by Markandey Singh is a chrome extension for page scraping. Select some text on a page and click the extension icon, and it will populate the URL and XPath of the selection. Click “getmashup” to get a lightweight page that loads your content. A Sample URL and XPath for advanced mashup building is URL=”http://twitpic.com/photos/$1? Path=”//div[@id="image-"]/div/div1/a”, which results in $1 to become a form field to enter the TwitPic user name.
  • Communicator by Mohan Gupta, Sri Ram, and Roshan is an API to include a real-time communication widget on any Web page. All the users viewing that page can discuss and collaborate on the content of the page in real time.
  • Chirpshire by Preetham Venkky, Rohit Talukdar, Puneet Jaiswal, and Mohd. Amjed allows you to gain belts and grab badges for tweeting regularly and without using automation apps. Businesses can use this service to spread a meme. This could be a # hashtag or a physical location check-in.
  • Shop Green by Nidhi Chaudhary and Anurag Jain is an interesting concept that allows sellers to print 2D barcodes for their products and buyers to simply scan them with their mobile phone and pay on the phone. No need for paper bills any longer. All the payments are made with PayPal.
  • Democracy Tools by Ankur Patel, Ankur Gupta, and Yatin Kumbhare did quite a job of scraping all kind of government sites to collect data to answer the following questions: Who is your Leader? Where is your Constituency? Is there a government Website Search Engine? What is Media’s Opinion about your Leader? Another hack that did something similar is RepMeter.
  • How Much Time Will This Landmark Take Me? by Susheel was a terribly clever hack that analyzed the EXIF data in Flickr photos to see how long it took people to take photos at a certain landmark. That can give you an insight into how much time to spend at that landmark on your next trip.
  • Nirvana – your late night path back home is a mashup that allows people to tweet where the police currently does alcohol tests – in case you want to avoid that route when driving home.

All in all, we were blown away by the energy, the hunger (both in terms of information and other) of the hackers, and how smoothly the event went (even more remarkable as we initially had planned for fewer participants).

The hackday toolbox

One personal thing I have taken away from this event is that whilst everything we release in Yahoo comes with a lot of documentation, nothing beats a good code examples to give to hackers. Which is why we assembled The Hackday Toolbox, to get people up and running faster next time.

The Hackday Toolbox

It contains:

  • An introduction to installing and using PHP with MAMP/XAMPP and debugging it
  • YQLGeo for all your geo and location needs
  • Demos of querying YQL in JavaScript, YUI3 and PHP
  • Demos to display YQL data
  • Authenticated example to access the Yahoo! Firehose
  • Rendering Yahoo Geoplanet data as a map

You can download the Hackday Toolbox on GitHub or try the examples.

In conclusion

All that remains is to thank everybody involved in organizing, running, and attending this event. It has been a blast — and now it is time to follow up on what can happen to the hacks built and groups formed there. Check out the photos on Flickr to get a glimpse of what happened.