I've seen a few mobile hackathon apps (MHacks & PennApps), but I wonder if a native app is really necessary. Why not just focus on a great mobile web experience with critical info like:

  1. FAQ + general info (code of conduct / emergency plan)
  2. Schedule, alerts (where the food at?)
  3. How to submit your hack (when's the deadline again?
  4. Sponsors info (location, prizes, who's recruiting?)
  5. Where to find mentors (I need help with Ruby & Parse!)

You can post all this info on Devpost, but the mobile view isn't a great experience. It presents everything instead of focusing on a few key things.

So, I decided to change that — sorta. I came up with a reference design for a mobile hackathon site. It contains the info mentioned above, integrates Roost for webpush (although, I've been struggling with it), and has a Chrome manifest / web worker so you can prompt users to install it to their Android home screen.

What's next?

It's a static site, so I'm thinking about building a spreadsheet / JSON based generator for it (like a Jekyll site). Quickest way to deploy changes, amirite? Or you could link it up to something like Jessica Lord's sheetsee.js and dynamically populate it w/ template tags. BTW, pull requests are quite welcome.

I'd also like to integrate this with existing hackathon check in processes. Maybe you go here to sign your waiver & release & get your swag? I dunno, you tell me, I need your feedback!

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Neal Shyam posted an update

So, I've been thinking about turning this into a react native app. Anyone in NYC want to help me out with this? It'll be a learning experience for me since I'm not super great with JS - let alone React.

The way I see it, you could take a single JSON file (with a seperate webapp for constructing that) and template out a 1 page view with accordions. Hell, you could even power this with firebase.

oh, and push notifications (duh).

non-MVP ideas: make the app a general "Devpost Hackathon app" and use your location to determine which hackathon you're at and template out the main view / data based on that. "Oh, you're within 5 miles of UPenn on September 5th? Welp, then you're probably here for PennApps..."

I'm serious, it'd be super fun to build a hackathon app that organizers didn't have to maintain and that hackers could rely on.

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Neal Shyam posted an update

working on some updates:

  • integrated gitter chatroom for participants
  • added hackathon button project to create a dynamic register / submit / submissions closed button
  • adding a button to take you to the expo / table numbers app (oh yeah, i wrote that too)
  • had to take Roost off for now, but I still love the idea of off-site push notifications.

If i built a generator (store data in json/yml like Jekyll) for this, would any of you use it? Any other ideas??

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Neal Shyam posted an update

Boosh! Thanks to Dan @ Roost, Chrome & Safari notifications should both be live now. So, once you've opted in, you'll be able to get pushes on your phone and desktop!!

And in the future, we could wire up Roost to our (currently, email only) hackathon updates tab, providing an extra comms channel for food alerts, deadline reminders, and more!

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