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What actually happens at a Tanda Hackathon?

28 September, 2017 Alex Ghiculescu

Every year we run a Tanda hackathon. Actually, that’s a lie — this year we’ve already done one in Manila, but we’re now gearing up for our Brisbane one, which should be even bigger. Anyway, an integral part of organising a hackathon is people asking you what actually happens at one. In this post, I will answer that question!

Let’s start with the important bit. The winner of the hackathon is whoever builds the coolest thing. This is a bit different to other kinds of events which might focus on entrepreneurship, or on creating solutions to specific problems. At a Tanda hackathon, you can build anything you like, as long as it interacts with one of our APIs in some way.

So what’s an API? Turns out it’s “a set of subroutine definitions, protocols, and tools for building application software” (no wonder nobody knows what an API is…). Or, if you want a useful answer — it’s a set of tools that let your program talk to Tanda. The Tanda API lets you do anything in Tanda that a user could normally do just by clicking around, like create a shift, get a list of staff, or submit a leave request.

The theme for this year’s hackathon is Webhooks. I will spare you the formal definition. But basically, a webhook is a way of your program getting an alert when something happens in Tanda. So, when someone creates a shift or submits a leave request, your program can get notified and it can do something in response. Hopefully something interesting!

The really cool thing about webhooks is that you can use online tools like Zapier to interact with them without writing any code. For example, using Zaiper, you could create a “zap” (a program) that posts a photo to a Facebook group whenever someone clocks in. Perfect for the selfie competition you never knew you were going to run until just now.

So, back to what actually happens at a hackathon. On Friday night we give everyone free food and drinks. Then you get a chance to come up on stage and tell everyone what you’d like to build in the next 24 hours. Based on that, you can form a team and start building. For the next 24 hours, we’ll keep you fed and dranked (that isn’t a word), and there will be heaps of people from Tanda around who can help answer questions about your project, or just get really excited about it with you. Finally, on Saturday night, you get to present what you built to our panel of expert judges, and we’ll crown a winner! This year there will be a prize for the best project that uses code, for the best no-code project, as well the overall prize for whoever builds the coolest thing.

At this point, I bet the only question you have left is “how do I get a ticket?” Luckily I can answer that too — just go to http://hack.tanda.co! Early bird tickets, which are just $10, are on sale for the rest of the month. Next month, the price skyrockets up to $25. So, get in early. The Hackathon is on Friday 27 October and Saturday 28 October. Can’t wait to see you there!

Everyone having a good time at the Tanda Hackathon 2016. Apologies for my face.
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