Kings of Code 2011

20 September 2011

Last saturday and sunday me and three colleagues of Carlos Gallupa competed in the prestigious Kings of Code hackbattle in Amsterdam at the lovely Deskowitz building overviewing the Museumplein.

Saturday started with a briefing of the sponsors and an explanation of the API's that we could use in our hack. After that presentations we walked outside to get some sigarettes and while standing in the pouring rain we came up with the idea: let's create a digital foxhunt which didn't need anything other that a smartphone and a barcode which can be found everywhere around you. The game idea is simple: I take a picture of something with a barcode on it, post it to twitter/mobypicture with geo information enabled and somebody else had to rush to that same location and take a picture of the same barcode to win the battle.

So we started hacking. I created the logo:

And with the logo created in a few minutes, a design for the website was created fairly easy. The website had to be nice and had to be build with some nice effects to awe the viewers. So I decided to add google maps, one vertical page, smooth scrolling javascript powered menu with no-script fallback, css transitions, etc.

View the live website at, and don't forget to click the menu and scroll through the page :)

The rest of the day was filled with hacking the back- and frontend, using Cingusoft's Barcode scanner API, the Mobypicture API and the Google Maps API

At two o'clock in the night we had to stop coding and go home for some sleep. Alies Maclean was so friendly to lend us her appartement in the heart of Amsterdam. At 2:30 we were in bed and the next morning we waked up and headed back to the Museumplein.

After making a sandwich we quickly got back to work. The hack had to be finished at 16:00 to be presented to the jury for evaluation. The rest of the day consisted of a few short breaks for a smoke or a call home, but the rest was pure hacking to get it done on time. And we did. Five minutes before it had to be ready, but we did!

Then Tjarko had to show our barbattle hack to the jury in a short presentation. It worked. Everybody applauded.
The jury took of to get a beer and delibrate on which three hack were the best and continued to the big conference next day.

The jury consisted of Michele Zonca of, judging the best use of one of his his API's, Mathys van Abbe of and Patrick de Laive of The Next Web.

Against our expectations Mathys ánd Michele decided they thought our application was the best hack of that weekend! Together with team Tam Tam's Zuuq and's nihao.

So we had to come back to Amsterdam the next day. We quickly canceled all monay's appointments, got a hamburger at MacDonalds and set up the computers at the Carlos Gallupa HQ to continue coding on BarBattle to make it perfect. This way we didn't only built a complete app in a day, but also got it online and running for everybody to use! We were really tired by now, but I managed to rewrite the whole frontend in four hours and Paul and Tjarko did some great work on the backend. When the clock hit 2 o'clock (at night!) we stopped to go to sleep. The train to Amsterdam left at 8:00 the next morning, so we needed to get some sleep.

The next morning Tjarko presented Barbattle for 250+ people during the Kings of Code Conference:

Then the big wait. The announcement of the winner wasn't up until 16:30, but we had access to the rest of the conference because of the win the day before, we attended a few speeches and Paul continued to hack BarBattle with his laptop in the foyer of Felix Meritis.

Then there was the big moment. All three hacks and presentations were really good, so it had to be a close finish. Patrick de Laive held a short speech and announced nihao as winner of the Hackbattle and Kings of Code for this year. Great job Marcel Corso and Michiel Gardner of Congratulations guys!

So we didn't win the overall battle, but still got two prizes and a lot of complements. Also we met some great people and had lots of laughs, so my conclusion can't be something other than: the hackbattle was awesome! See you all next year!
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    Johan van Tongeren

    21 September 2011

    You're right, Paul! It was an honour battling with you and the rest!

    May this Band of Brothers win many more battles!

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    21 September 2011

    Eey my friend, nice writeup! Glad you liked it, and just like the rest of the team, you did an awesome job!
    (and we should've won off course ;-)