First Hackathon produces winning APIs


Arrive 9 am Saturday morning. Form a team by 10 am and start designing and coding. Apart from eating, drinking, arcade games, a visit to the party bus, and maybe a nap on the floor, don’t stop coding until 1 pm on Sunday. Sit shoulder to shoulder (literally) with 150 other hackers just like you. Present the pitch for your app in 3 minutes or less to a panel of 10 judges.  Answer questions for 2 minutes. Wait for results and hope you have won some of the prizes.  In short that was what the TM Forum’s first Hackathon in October 2013 was like. Serious creative energy and smarts, many great ideas, and lots of learning about TM Forum APIs defined the event.

TM Forum partnered with hackathon specialist AngelHack to present this hackathon in San Francisco October 19th and 20th. The event was a joint session where AngelHack was holding a general mobile apps event and TM Forum was holding an event about using our 3 new REST APIs for product catalogs, product ordering and trouble ticketing. Attendees of the hackathon could participate in one or both competitions.

TM Forum sponsored the event, Cisco, Ericsson and SunTec all had staff on hand to help the developers with the APIs as well as to learn about how hackathons can help advance our industry and their companies going forward.  Accenture was our 4th sponsor. Their support enabled us to have $6,000 in cash prizes which proved to be very motivating to the teams!

Several teams came to the event specifically to use the TM Forum APIs. But we also had the opportunity to work with developers who knew nothing about TM Forum or our APIs and in fact were not sure how a catalog, ordering or trouble ticketing API could help them. After group and one-on-one education sessions about what we had, and the teams telling us what they were trying to do (our education!), we ended up with 10 of the 24 teams at the event using the APIs as part of their projects.  Many of those uses were things that we didn’t think of or consider when we created the APIs and in fact may influence us to change the name of at least one of the APIs.

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