Last week, on June 12, Microsoft Belgium organised a Windows 8 App-a-thon. Place to be this time was the casino in Blankenberge, a city at the Belgian coast. The concept: two app-a-thons, one during the day and one during the night. Gather a team, build an app in a few hours and show it off to the rest.
As usual I arrived a few hours early, always prefer arriving early then arriving late and have an entire room stare at you as you enter. The room was quite big, there were about 50 registrations for the event, a small and entertaining group. Once everyone of the day group arrived and got setup the introduction of the day began. Katrien De Graeve, a Microsoft Belgium Evangelist, gave the intro with me giving a small demo of Trello, the online board system that the app-a-thon community is using to divide the groups and brainstorm about different ideas.
After all the introductions were done, it was time to grab the first Red Bull of the day and started coding. My team would arrive for the night so during the day I mostly worked on my ComicDB app. This was also my first public appearance as a MEET member. This meant I would be a helper on people getting stuck. I did help some people with small issues and it felt good, being part of a community means helping people out and getting help from others. And you get fancy t-shirts .
There were no demos after the day event because most teams stayed to continue working on their app during the night. Between both events it was time to get out and get some ice cream and seeing the beach. Yes that’s right, a bunch of developers went out to the beach instead of staying in a room behind a computer.
Then it was time for the night event, while eagerly awaiting the pizza me and my newly arrived team started working. We were working on a XBMC remote for Windows 8. We’ve spent some time before the event getting to know the API (which is a JSON-RPC API) and started working an a .NET wrapper for it. Our team proved to be pretty efficient and new functionality got spit out constantly. Never the less we couldn’t get all functionality working, playing a movie from within the app proved to be a big challenge, something we’re currently still working on.
After some pretty darn good slices of pizza and some hours of coding it was demo time. Some impressive apps got shown off, an app to check the type of beer based on its color, an app that provides you with color schemes that you can use, a MovieDB app and a random funny sentence generator (that one was pretty hilarious).
After that we got one more cocktail at the beach and then it was time to get to the parking lot in the rain and start heading home. It was a very fun day, met some nice people, met some people in real life that I know from Twitter and had a great time working with friends on an app.
I can’t wait for the next app-a-thon in August! And the one in September that the community is currently begging for
PS: About our XBMC remote app, we are currently still working on it and we do plan to get it in the store. At that time it will also get open-sourced. The name is currently MetroRemote but that can still change.
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