After participating in the Sitecore Hackathon of 2015, we had really been looking forward to this year’s edition. And it turns out that this edition was again very valuable, an opportunity to work together closely, explore unexplored aspects of Sitecore and deliver another valuable building block to Sitecore.
What is a Hackathon all about?
A Hackathon is a community driven event that aims at creating new functionalities around an existing concept or product. As the event is participated voluntarily, no real product enhancements are developed to be incorporated into the base product. Often these Hackathon events are organized as small competitions to increase the gamification factor and add some healthy competition.
A Hackathon mainly aims at developers although some front-end and analysis is often required to conceive and complete the project. A Hackathon usually has a timeframe of 24 hours, this allows for the team to prove their ability to approach a project independently and in a structured way.
The idea behind adding these new functionalities can be very diverse:
- Adding new desired functionalities
- Presenting a proof of concept
- Proving an in-depth understanding of the product
This year’s Hackathon
As this was a Sitecore Hackathon, obviously all the registered teams would have to work with Sitecore at the heart of our solution. However, the actual assignment (that helps them guide or structure your concept) is only revealed to all the teams one hour before the start. A total of 48 team signed up, making for a total of 132 developers participating. More information can be found here: http://sitecorehackathon.org/sitecore-hackathon-2016/
This year, we had been given a heads-up that the emphasis would be placed on Sitecore Habitat. Sitecore Habitat is a solution example built on a modular architecture. It aims to streamline the development process and optimize productivity within a Sitecore project. As the Sitecore Habitat framework is built around modularity, features and an overall granular approach, it offered a perfect basis for the Hackathon.
The 3 categories that were presented one hour before the start were the following:
- New Habitat Feature
Create a new feature module for the Habitat website exhibiting a clearly defined business objective. Add visible renderings on the website and optionally extend the Sitecore interface.
- 3rd Party System Integration
Create an integration to a 3rd party system in the Habitat example site. The solution can contain one or more new modules or can extend or customize the existing Habitat modules.
- Customer Demo Site
Showcase a customized customer demo site built on Habitat as you would do for a prospect.
After 24 hours, all participating teams can upload their code, documentations, Sitecore packages and content to a team of community judges that will take their time to go through all the submissions and choose a winner in each of the categories.
Team No Weekend 4 Us
Our team consisted of myself and my colleagues Gert Gullentops @Gatagordo and Nick Vierstraete @NickVierstraete. Supported by the entire company and the multitude of visitors and messages we received we found ourselves strengthened to work on our Habitat feature and give it our best.
We chose to go for the first option and provide a new Habitat feature. In the 24 hours available to us we built a fully functional Habitat feature around the concept of event management within your Sitecore solution.
We aimed at making a skimmed down version of all the features we would love to see in a full-fledged solution in a real-world Sitecore solution. This approach aligns perfectly with the basic idea behind Habitat. The idea is to create mid-tier features that remain abstract but are very stable and can easily be expanded on.
Thanks to this Hackathon event we were able to deep-dive into Habitat, use a clean version of Sitecore 8.1 and approach all aspects of a mini-project.
A very big thanks goes out to:
- Everyone that supported us
- Akshay Sura @akshaysura13 and Sitecore for making this possible
- The local fast food solutions offered to us by The Reference @TheReference
- Special thanks to Simran Singh and Jeroen Vantroyen
We have a whole new year ahead of us to build on our expertise, discover new possibilities and muse on new ideas. Time enough to position ourselves again at pole position for the Hackathon 2017.
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