Frequently Asked Questions
What is a hackathon?
A Hackathon is a fast paced event where teams of developers design and build a software project within a very small timeframe. In the case of Hack The Midwest, it is a mere 24 hours.
Why would I want to go to a Hackathon?
Because you want to:
Hone your skills
- Connect with local developers that are just as passionate about building good software
- Learn about tools and new dev patterns
- Demonstrate your skills
- Have a chance at wining cool prizes
But I don't have any ideas!
…EVERYONE has ideas!
What you might really be saying is that you don't have any GOOD ideas. Just remember that a single good idea rarely presents itself without the generation of a hundred or thousand other bad ones. Look at many of the innovators through history as a testament.
Sometimes an idea might take on new life when presented to other developers, who can improve upon it. But you never know until you try.
You could always just be on a team with someone who you think has good ideas and help them build it. You'll be able to meet those kind of people at this event!
Am I only allowed to use the APIs you list?
No. You can use any APIs you want to build your apps, but if you want to compete for some of the listed prizes - you'll need to use one of those listed APIs.
NOTE: We'll have separate prizes awarded for apps that aren't tied to a particular API, and will announce this soon.
Do I have to pre-organize a team?
No. We can try to help you find one at the event.
Hack?? I'm a developer, not a security guy!!
Relax. In the programming world, hacker means:
"A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and stretching their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary.
What follows is a summary of Hack The Midwest competition rules for contestants. Before entering, you'll be asked to accept the full legal contest rules.
Applications may be built in any code that you please.
No production assets of any kind can be created until the start of the official competition period illustrated above. This includes "ready to slice" graphic design assets, application code, and user stories / test cases. Some individuals have asked about frameworks and libraries - yes these ARE allowed, but 3rd party only.
When in doubt: Plan, don't create.
Your teams should be comprised of between one and five individuals. No more than five people are allowed on a team. You can pre-organize a team or we can try to help you find one at the event.
Your team has exactly 24 hours to develop a mobile or web based application.
After the initial 24 hours are up, you’ll be judged on what you’ve completed. No additional features or bugfixes are allowed during this period, or you will be disqualified.
We’ll provide your team with a private Git repository, so we can ensure your code is fresh. As you develop your application, push progress to the assigned repository regularly (“commit early, commit often”) in order to demonstrate progress. HackTheMidwest organizers will be observing checkins throughout the event.
Don’t be tricky and try to develop your app in its entirety ahead of time, rebasing it and pushing it in at the last minute. Doing so could will get you disqualified. Before the contest ends, you must mark your entry as complete on your assigned Git profile and tag a release of your code with the word ‘HackTheMidwest.’
Ownership and Open Source
We’re just running a competition here…..so what you do with your source once the competition is over is up to you.
We encourage participants to open source the codebase of their applications for the benefit of the community. However, if you choose not to open source your application, well that’s up to you.
Please note that the competition organizers will have access to your code base throughout the competition, in order to make sure that no cheating occurs (as outlined previously).
We won’t steal anything from you, promise! However, we do reserve the right to use your application’s likeness as a promotion for this or future contest.
All judging will occur from the perspective of ‘joe average web jockey’. That is, code quality will not be judged. We believe code quality to be a highly subjective affair, and thorough reviews are extremely time-intensive and not in the best interests of this competition.
Your application will be judged based on it’s visible merits, such as:
- user interface
Each judge (both expert panel members as well as peer judges) will be able to rate each application on a scale of one to five (1-5) on these criteria and comment on recommendations / possible enhancements, errors, and other issues that they experienced.
Other judges will be able to review these comments. We strongly encourage contestants to use development best practices but in the end judges are expected to rate applications based on their visible merits.
HackTheMidwest organizers reserve the right to disqualify any team that is believed to be cheating or not competing in the spirit of the competition.