Hacking is often a solitary venture, but Wilmington’s leading developers and designers tried something new at the coIN Loft this weekend: a collaborative hackathon just for themselves.
The weekend was so successful that they decided they’ll make the event a quarterly affair.
So what made this weekend any different than another weekday at the Loft? For starters, many of the 26 developers had the chance to work on personal projects they’ve kept on the back-burner. And it was the first time they’ve all been in the same space at the same time, they said. Students from Zip Code Wilmington also participated and worked with developers.
The projects varied. Developer (and Technical.ly contributor) Chris Williams spent the weekend working on a website he’ll soon launch about Delaware 2016 elections.
John Meyer, a Wilmington physicist and cofounder of Foolhardy Softworks, tried his hand at making a video game and said he learned a thing or two from some of the Zip Code students. “They mentored me,” he said.
The developers learned they could take advantage of each others’ strengths, too.
Tariq Hook, the director of education at Zip Code Wilmington, found himself a future partner in Chris Wells, president of the Newark research and product development support company Solidified.
Hook focused on developing a personal project that involves a customized, identity-detecting mirror. Wells, who worked on creating a motor-controller that a client will use for scientific experiments, can help Hook fabricate the mirror.
Front-end and back-end developers also appreciated working together.
Brothers Rory and Regan Laitila and Adam Steele were hard at work preparing their website, SyncQL — which will allow users to read and write any API directly in SQL — for the upcoming Delaware Innovation Week.
After hearing about SyncQL, developer John Himics initially felt a little unqualified. “I’m deep in the design and front-end world, and at first, I thought, ‘Oh, I’m not that real of a programmer,’” he said. But he and his partner at First Ascent Design, Pauline Rubin, were able to build SyncQL’s landing page for the back-end developers in a pinch.
The developers said “taking a break” by helping others’ projects helped clear their heads for their own work. Future hackathons will be invaluable, said Nick Matarese, president and creative director of The Barn: “Creativity can get stuck in a rut, but things like this bring it all out.”
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