University Hack Day in Bollywood!

Like the sequel to a good movie, following the box-office hit of Hack U, IIT Delhi, it was time to visit IIT Mumbai, in Bollywood!

Mumbai is well-known for its computer science engineering department, so we expected a strong response. We were not disappointed. Students registered in large numbers, curious to know about "Yahoo! Hack U."

There was some initial misconception about the Hack U event. Some thought it they would learn how to crack or hack or break into websites but we explained that hack is about discovering creative new ways to mash up open data from Yahoo! and the rest of the web using Yahoo! tools and web services.

The Yahoo! Hack U posters were everywhere on the huge campus. We were shocked to learn that the campus is close to a national park, full with wild bison, crocodiles, and wild cats.

HackU IIT Mumbai attendees
Photo credit: Subramanyan Murali

For the first 2 days of the event, Yahoos provided tech talks on various Yahoo! technologies and Yahoo! web services. Rasmus Lerdorf described what Yahoo! Hack days are all about, motivating them to create, solve, and innovate over technology. He later introduced students to various tricks and cool ways of going about a hack. Rasmus showcased some of his hacks and explained how easy it might be to actually implement a great idea. Rasmus's talks can be found at http://talks.php.net/show/hacku/.

This talk was followed by a talk on BOSS by an IIT Mumbai alum, Saurabh Sahni, who was greeted with a warm cheer. Saurabh's presentation can be found on slideshare.

Saurabh Sahni talks on BOSS
Photo credit: N RajaGopal

The following day, I gave a YUI talk, covering the cool YUI libraries and other web service APIs like YQL and Yahoo! Pipes. Many students at IIT Delhi had questions about fetching and playing with data on JavaScript, so this time I emphasized information on fetching data in Javascript and how to work with JSON data. My talk was followed by a talk on Yahoo! Blueprint mobile platform by Kush Bhandari.

Some of the Yahoo! engineers stayed on campus during the hack event along with Rasmus. They were swamped with questions. Rasmus put out a a call for hacker support over our internal developer mailing list, and Yahoo developers in other parts of the world checked in.

The #indiahacku channel on irc.freenode.net was buzzing with questions and hack ideas, with support from Yahoo! engineers worldwide.

Like the build-up to the climax of a thrilling movie, IIT students hacked away, polishing their hacks, gearing up for the demos. You can see all the hacks submitted in our HackTrackr. Don't miss the Flickr photos of the event in the "indiahacku" group, or feel free to add some of your own.

Another box office hit, Hack U series rocks !!

Subramanyan Murali
Yahoo! Bangalore Engineer