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Hackathon hang-over: notes & ruminations

by Rob Friesel

I’m home and ruminating in the hang-over basking in the afterglow of the first all-of-engineering hackathon where I work. I wanted to do some reflection and get some notes down while it was all still fresh in my mind, before the exhaustion fully sets in and I crash right here on the couch. I started writing something longer and more eloquent, but it turns out that I was just free-associating incoherently. So instead, some pithy notes:

  • Storm. That Storm. Wow, cool. But even turning on the fire hose that we did, I’m not sure we came close to overwhelming it.
  • Play. As in Play Framework. Looks cool, and I love Scala–but it turned out that I forgot more Scala than I ever even knew in the first place.1 I’ll come back to it, but for the hackathon, it just got in the way.
  • Grails ‘resources’ plugin. Where have you been? Well at least you’re here now.
  • JavaScript microframeworks. In a twist that I found deliciously ironic, I used such a tiny fraction of each of the microframeworks that I incorporated, that in some cases I just dumped them all together.
  • Zepto.js. “Very” compatible with jQuery code, but not fully. (ajax function, I’m looking at you.)
  • OO JavaScript. It’d been too long since I’d done any “by hand”. That was humbling.
  • WebSockets and/or Comet in Grails. In a nutshell? Forget it.2
  • Throw it away. Seriously. It’s kind of liberating to just hack on something that you have no intention of releasing. It’s even more fun to do this with the right kind of enthusiastic, like-minded group. It’s surprising to see where you fall down, but equally surprising to see where something gets up and shines.
  1. I enjoyed the exercises from Bruce Tate’s Seven Languages in Seven Weeks (my review is here) and the language itself is powerful, but it was like being in my high school Russian class again. []
  2. UPDATED: (6/9/2012) It’s probably worth pointing out that this has more to do with Tomcat than Grails itself. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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