Marko Anastasov wrote this on June 4, 2015

Our First Hackathon

On May 30 and 31st we organized the first Rendered Text web hackathon. Five teams of students from Novi Sad, Belgrade and Niš competed in developing a static code analysis web application for Elixir, using Elixir of course. They didn’t know the language or the objective prior to coming to the hackathon, as we held it as a surprise.

The hackathon was a big success: for 24 hours the teams worked hard to show what they can do, met fellow hackers and had some fun. We just enjoyed helping them do all that. The iPads went to good hands: the winning app can tell you a few basic things about the coding style and function complexity in a snippet of Elixir source code.

Rendered Text Hackathon

The 30 hours later picture

Keeping an Open Mind

Telling people to program in a functional, dynamic language which they’ve never used before is simply our idea of fun. It’s what we’d like to do on a hackathon ourselves.

Most of the software companies in Serbia are quite conservative when it comes to using and exploring new platforms. The term “new” in this context is relative: many regard Python and Ruby as new, even though they’re over 20 years old. This feeds back into the local education system, creating an environment in which students are often trapped in a closed mindset.

We believe the opposite — that during your studies is a great time to try very different things. This helps you discover what’s possible, try various programming languages, stack levels and paradigms. You also get to know and compare communities and start getting a sense of what is happening in the industry. For this reason we decided to make this hackathon an opportunity to work with something previously unknown. Darko wrote earlier about what makes Elixir particularly interesting. It has grown to version 1.0 since then and Phoenix has become a fully functional web framework.

“The topic was interesting and the atmosphere great. We never programmed in a functional language, so learning Elixir was both interesting and a big challenge. With a little more experience, you could use Elixir and Phoenix to build quite powerful things in a simple way,” said Marko Papić from the winning team.

Congratulations to all teams for the work and effort they put in!

You can view more photos from the hackathon here.

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About Marko Anastasov

Rendered Text co-founder. Started with code, currently more focused on people and words. Foosball striker and entry-level cyclist.

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