1. June 24, 2014

    Introducing Portfolios: Tell the Story Behind Your Code

    We’ve had the privilege of watching amazing software projects come to life over the last few years. Whether browsing through competition galleries online or attending hackathon demos in real life, we’re wowed every single day. You’ve probably seen some of our favorite apps and hacks featured in recent newsletters.

    But we noticed that outside of challenges and hackathons, there wasn’t a place for our community to get inspired, gain exposure, or showcase software they’d made.

    That’s why we created Portfolios.


    One portfolio for all of your software

    Demo your open source projects, mobile apps, hardware hacks, and more. Share fun side projects or exhibit professional work.

    Get up and running in a snap

    Import projects directly from GitHub and use markdown, app store links, screenshots, and video to illustrate your creative process. Your submissions from ChallengePost hackathons and challenges are imported automatically.

    Gather feedback and connect with fellow makers around the world

    Tag your projects by API or technology and we’ll notify you whenever somebody likes or comments on it.

    Find your next inspiration

    Follow developers and designers that you admire on ChallengePost. You’ll be the first to know when they register for a challenge or publish new software.

    What are you waiting for? Create your portfolio now!

  2. June 10, 2014

    Developer Download: iOS Jailbreak Pioneer Ari Weinstein Wants to Help You Be More Productive on Mobile

    We’re starting a new spotlight series — presenting software developers, designers, and technologists who have shared interesting projects on ChallengePost. Want to be featured next? Update your portfolio and tell us the story behind your code.


    Name: Ari Weinstein

    Occupation: Student at MIT, developer, soon-to-be Thiel Fellow, and creator of DeskConnect and Workflow

    Hails from: Philadelphia, PA, USA

    Best known for: Creating one of the original iOS jailbreak tools in 2007, at the age of 13

    Other notable hacks: Cross-platform mobile development tool Frozen Cocoa, and the Raspberry Pi-based DVR PiVision

    What’s your favorite app, past or present, real or not-yet-invented?
    I would love an app that lets me watch any TV show without having to buy services like HBO, Netflix, and Hulu separately.

    What’s the best hackathon you’ve been to?
    MHacks Winter 2014. We made something awesome, something we’re truly excited and passionate about, hung out with cool people, and won first place, which we’d never done before.

    In one sentence, what do you actually do all day as a developer?
    I build things and solve problems.

    What was the first program you wrote that you were proud of?
    I’m not sure I deserve to be proud of it. I was 10 years old at the time. It was the most basic thing you can possibly imagine and I found out how to do it from a book and by googling around —  I made a website in PHP that remembers my name based on a stored cookie.

    What’s the last thing you made at a hackathon?
    Workflow, an app that lets you automate tasks on your iPad. It won Grand Prize and Apple’s Best iOS App at MHacks.

    iOS, Android, or Windows Mobile?
    I really love coding for iOS. It’s a great platform. But really, I’m interested in making it possible so that you can develop on iOS for Android & Windows Desktop as well.

    What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at a hackathon
    Absolutely nothing is coming to mind!

    What project are you working on now?
    I’m continuing to work on Workflow with my MHacks teammates Nick Frey, Conrad Kramer, and Veeral Patel. I’m also working with Conrad on DeskConnect, which lets you easily share content between different devices — for example, between Mac and iOS, or between your computer and phone.

    How many hackathons have you won?
    Six different prizes at four hackathons.

    How do you decide what to work on next?
    I usually just work on whatever I’m really excited about.

    What are you most passionate about right now?
    Finding ways to make more powerful software for mobile and make mobile devices more productive. 

    What are your favorite programming frameworks, languages, or technologies?
    Cocoa/Objective-C, C, UNIX, Python, and assembly (M68k, MIPS, ARM). PHP may have a bad rep, but I do a lot of stuff in it because it’s what I’ve used the longest. I haven’t had time to make my code more elegant, but I’m looking forward to rewriting in Node or Python.

    What are your favorite software or hardware APIs or SDKs?
    Cocoa, Apple’s native API. I’m keen on bringing Cocoa to Windows and Android one day to aid cross-platform mobile development, which was why I made Frozen Cocoa at PennApps 2013. (Frozen Cocoa makes it easy to port iOS apps to Android, and won two prizes — the Dropbox “It Just Works” award, and Filepicker.io’s “Most Cutting Edge” award at PennApps.)

    What’s the best API/SDK documentation you’ve seen?
    MSDN, the Microsoft Developer Network, does a really good job with documentation.

    What do you listen to when you’re coding?
    Right now, I really like Arcade Fire and Kanye West. I’m into a bunch of different kinds of music and download all the free songs available on Amazon MP3. I spend too much money on iTunes!

    TechCrunch, Hacker News, or MIT Technology Review?
    They’re all awesome and I read them all from time to time. But if I have to pick one, it’s Hacker News. And Daring Fireball by John Gruber.

    Vim or Emacs? What’s your text editor of choice?
    I use a text editor that no one has ever used or heard of called SubEthaEdit. It’s an old mac program designed for collaborative text editing. It’s not a great text editor and it’s very old, but I’m used to it and use it for everything except for iOS development. For building iOS apps, I use Apple’s Xcode.

    Where do you go to be creative?
    Being outside when it’s nice outside can be inspiring, and I enjoy going to different places, but nowhere in particular.

    Where do you find cool software projects made by others?
    Going to hackathons is probably the number one way I find out about cool projects. Or my friends will tell me what they’re working on or what other people are working on. And of course, there’s Twitter.

    What software do you wish you would have built?
    I would have loved to have worked on the Mac OS and iOS.

    Who’s your favorite software developer?
    Google. They make so much, and so much of it is really good. Everybody uses it everyday, all the time.

    What would you like to see here next? Post a comment, email us, or reach us via Twitter at @ChallengePost.

    To create your free software portfolio and compete in hackathons and online challenges, sign up for ChallengePost.

    Interested in growing your developer network by organizing an in-person hackathon or online challenge? Contact us at post@challengepost.com.

  3. June 4, 2014

    Jumpstart Your Next Project with 17 New Software Challenges & Hackathons

    Summer is here and we’ve got a full slate of challenges and hackathons for you. For weekly updates about new competitions, sign up here.


      Samsung Gear App Challenge

    241 prizes worth $1.25M - Submit by July 17

    Take wearable technology to the next level by creating original and functional apps for Samsung’s Gear 2 smart watch.

      Dual Screen App Challenge

    8 prizes worth $100K - Submit by July 21

    Use WirelessHD and MHL technologies from Silicon Image to create dual screen apps and games for Android phones and tablets.

      Connected Intersections

    10 prizes worth $50K - Submit by September 9

    AT&T challenges developers to leverage apps, wearable devices, and new technologies to increase environmental awareness for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.

      Explosive Remnants of War and Land Mine Reporting Apps Challenge

    9 prizes worth $5K - Submit by July 15

    Enable residents of post-war zones to report the location explosive material and landmines using their mobile devices.

      Disaster Apps Challenge

    8 prizes worth $5K - Submit by July 15

    Build open solutions to improve and refine disaster relief applications.


    Week of June 2–8

      San Juan, Puerto Rico: Tech Summit 2014 Open Data Jam (June 4)

    Create innovative solutions with open data from Puerto Rico’s state and federal governments to improve life for citizens, public sector, and private enterprises.

      Cambridge, MA: Hacking Journalism (June 7–8)

    Join journalists, developers, and designers to rethink how we create, disseminate, and consume media. Prizes include Galaxy watches, Kindles, an Oculus Rift 2, and more.

      San Francisco: tvot^ Hackathon 2014 - San Francisco (June 7–8)

    Build the TV of Tomorrow through new apps and experiences alongside directors, creatives, and experts in television, big data, art, and music. Over $7,000 in prizes.

    Week of June 9–15

      New York: The Video Experience Hackathon at Kaltura Connect 2014 (June 13)

    Create engaging Kaltura based video experience apps or services and present them at Kaltura Connect for a chance to win a $50,000 grand prize!

      London: FUTUReBOOKHACK (June 14–15)

    Embrace emerging technology to move the publishing industry forward. The grand prize winner will receive £5,000 and pitch their hack to a panel of top VCs.

    Week of June 16–22

      London: IoT Week 2014 Hackathon (June 17–18)

    Get access to state of the art IoT infrastructure and crash courses provided by IoT project engineers including gateways, cloud services, sensor platforms, and wearables. €1,000 in prizes.

      Toronto: Hacking the Middle East (June 20–22)

    A three-day hackathon in Toronto focused on building solutions for positive social change in the Middle East. $750 in prizes.

      San Francisco: Tech for Justice 2014 (June 21)

    The first-ever dispute resolution hackathon, where lawyers, technologists, UX designers, and public & private sector orgs will tackle access to justice issues through tech. $8,000 in prizes.

      New York: NUI Central Kinect for Windows Hackathon 2014 (June 21)

    Join fellow developers, UI/UX designers, and hackers for a 24-hour hackathon using the new Kinect for Windows v2. First place team members will receive their own Kinect v2s.

      New York: Grey Healthcare Group Health Outcomes Code-a-Thon (June 21–22)

    At this two-day hackathon, participants will create prototypes and innovative solutions to improve health care. $7,000 in prizes.

      San Francisco: SmallBizDev Hackathon (June 21–22)

    This hackathon brings together designers, developers, and entrepreneurs to create mobile apps that solve the toughest challenges facing 23M small businesses in America. $20,000 in prizes.

    Week of June 23–June 29

      Riverside, CA: RivCodes: 2014 (June 28–29)

    Riverside’s first Hackathon is aligned with the County’s commitment to technology and increasing awareness about open data.

  4. May 13, 2014

    Software Competitions Aren’t Just for New Apps

    By Brian Koles, Biz Dev Guy at ChallengePost

    There’s a widespread misconception amongst platform marketing professionals that software competitions are only useful for driving new development. Developer evangelists often assume that featuring their APIs, SDKs, or open data in online software “challenges” doesn’t align with goals for accelerating adoption amongst existing applications that already have significant traction.

    Good news: many of the most successful app competitions encourage participation from both new and existing software. Whether all new or ported over — new users are new users.

    For example, check out the Tizen App Challenge and HTML5 to Tizen challenge series from appbackr. Combined, these two challenges got developers to port over 1,200 existing HTML5 apps to the Tizen platform and app store.

    We love hackathon events and online software contests geared towards new app creation, but “portathons” and app contests that accept launched software can be immensely effective for growing a developer ecosystem. The barrier to entry is lower for existing apps when eligibility requires that submissions be publicly available in an app store or online, which generally means higher participation than when exclusively targeting new software. Plus, prizes that offer public recognition and marketing support to drive downloads can be more attractive than big cash prizes.

    Another option is to run a challenge with separate prize tracks for new and existing apps. This way, the playing field is leveled for each developer pool, and your developer outreach engages both audiences.

    Getting new built-from-scratch apps on your platform is obviously fantastic. However, when your priority is driving adoption, software competitions that welcome both new and existing apps can play a key role in moving the needle.

    If you’d like to learn more about running an effective and inspiring hackathon or online software competition, check out our app contest resources, post a hackathon/online challenge now, or write us at post@challengepost.com.

  5. May 6, 2014

    Developer Evangelism is a Process, Not an Event

    By Brian Koles, Biz Dev Guy at ChallengePost

    Hackathons, developer conferences, and coding workshops are fantastic events for growing the app ecosystem consuming your API. Just not by themselves. They should be part of an ongoing developer engagement strategy.

    Well-meaning platform marketing and developer relations professionals (a.k.a. developer evangelists/advocates) often focus their developer outreach resources on making a big splash at one or two events per year. While it’s awesome to have a marquee event that spotlights the latest and greatest innovations baked into your new release, consistent and persistent outreach is the key to success. Every great developer can’t make it to one big event in Silicon Valley on a weekday. But most can find the time to chime in on a webinar or attend a local event if given advanced notice.

    Take Twilio, one of the most admired developer outreach programs. Sure there’s Twiliocon, a three day festival featuring the brightest minds in communication services. But they also deploy a roving team of devangelists to hackathons all over the world every weekend, celebrate and match-make their developer community, and constantly provide thought leadership at industry events and online. There’s no question that they’re all-in with developers for the long haul.

    Or look at how Evernote did a global workshop tour in support of their DevCup app contest. Rather than doing a two-day hackathon that generates prototypes, they used in-person face time to educate developers on their API and extended these relationships by encouraging attendees to earn prizes and recognition by submitting fully-fledged, working software in their three-month online competition.

    There’s no one-shot silver bullet for growing a developer community. Frankly, neither great apps or relationships are built in a day. There should always be a next event or online challenge, a reliable point of contact for support, and a showcase to reward partner success.

    Much like how investors want lines, not dots, software developers require a consistent effort to build winning products on your platform. So spread the love. Developer communities aren’t built in a day.

    If you’d like to learn more about running an effective and inspiring hackathon or online software competition, check out our app contest resources, post a hackathon/online challenge now, or write us at post@challengepost.com.

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