Dancing To A New Tune With WSO2’s Ballerina Hackathon

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The 22nd of July was a bright Saturday morning . The birds were chirping, the leaves on trees were blowing in the wind. Over at the WSO2 Headquarters, multiple groups of individuals were getting ready to dance the day and (possibly) the night away. This was the Ballerina Hackathon by WSO2.

Once all the participants were sorted in terms of paperwork and power, it was time to kick things off. Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, Chief Architect and Founder of WSO2 welcomed everyone and thanked them for their participation. He proceeded to provide a bit of background information about WSO2, what they are, what they do and how they work.

Ballerina Hackathon
Dr. Sanjiva addressing the participants

Following Dr. Sanjiva’s speech, Sameera Jayasoma, Director of Platform Architecture at WSO2 was up on stage to give an introduction to Ballerina and what it is. If you didn’t already know, Ballerina is an open source programming language that has both a graphical and text view which can be used to create your programs. In addition, Ballerina knows JSON, XML and SQL as part of its type system.We saw both Dr. Sanjiva and Sameera talk in detail about Ballerina at Google I/O 2017 organized by Dialog. Sameera concluded his speech by wishing all the best to those participating and it was time for the teams to get hacking.

Ballerina Hackathon
Teams working on their projects
Image Credits: Thisal Gunarathna

Throughout the day and towards evening, the teams were hacking away on a race against time. The team took intermittant breaks for food and beverages to replenish their minds and bodies to power through to the end of the day.As the timer reached zero, the teams stopped clacking away at their keyboards, and took a break to stretch their limbs to get ready for the final presentations.

While the judges put their thinking caps on to calculate the final scores, the teams indulged in a few games to pass the time. One game was to transfer paper cups from one table to another, where the fish tank used to be at. The catch was the cups had to be transferred without human touch. Instead they had to use a balloon, that could only be held with their mouth and not hands. Follwing this, the second game was where they had to use rubber bands and paper to create projectiles, that would be shot at mugs that were transferred. The third and final game involved taking tennis balls while rowing on the floor.

Ballerina Hackathon
Image Credits: Thisal Gunarathna

Following the games, we saw team UXScripts emerge as the overall winners. Once the awards were handed over, Dr. Sanjiva took the stage again. He reiterated that this wasn’t a just a competition and thanked the participants for sharing their feedback after using Ballerina to help improve the language. He then welcomed the audience to participate in the development of Ballerina as it is open source and all development happens on a mailing list.

It was then time to pick the top three teams that excelled at the Ballerina Hackathon. The winners would be judged based on the following criteria:

  • The amount of work: This revolved around how many line code were written and number of language features used. The more efficient your code, the better.
  • The problem addressed: this involved the complexity of the problem and the effectiveness of the solution offered
  • The feedback received: This was about the number of issues raised about the developed solution and what the issue itself was. It also looked at the comments shared.

With the criteria in place, it was time to announce the winners of the first ever Ballerina Hackathon. Having shared this, he announced that three teams had arisen above the rest. These three teams were:

  • Half baked: in a corporate environment its hard to schedule meetings. Their solution is a core system that integrates google services and a database of meeting resources. It allows you to select the people you want to have a meeting, a subject and timing. It then checks if the people and rooms are available. If everyone is available then the meeting is booked. Else it suggests three other options to when you could have the meeting.
  • Cybus: This is a web application their web app let’s you find nearby restaurants and find promotions near you.
  • Oxygen: A news aggregator where you can add your preferred news sources and stay upto date with the latest happenings based on the category you chose (such as technology, sports, fashion, finance etc).

Ballerina HackathonThe winners received goody bags courtesy of WSO2 and were asked to speak a few words on their projects, how Ballerina helped them and their feedback about the hackathon. With all that being said, the Ballerina Hackathon organized by WSO2 officially came to an end and the teams and everyone else participating indulged themselves in food and beverages.

If you would like to know more about Ballerina, you can do so by clicking here.

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