Since 2017 the event Hackerkiste has been held every September. However, due to the pandemic, which has already had a great impact on our everyday life this year and will continue to do so, the organisers had to come up with a format adapted to this. It soon became clear that the Hackerkiste would not take place as usual this year. So the fourth edition of this event took place completely virtually for the first time. In this article we would like to share with you our experiences with the virtual Hackerkiste 2020.
What is the Hackerkiste?
This event – no matter if on site or remote – is a mixture of conference, barcamp and the most exciting part for us, the hackathon. It offers students, graduates, programmers, designers, web developers, startups and all of those who are enthusiastic about digitisation the opportunity to make contacts, gain new impressions or demonstrate their skills. The core topics were:
The organizers of this event are the Digitales Zentrum Schwaben (DZ.S), Web&Wine, the Augsburg University of Applied Sciences, the Faculty of Computer Science at the University of Augsburg and the aitiRaum. We from Conntac supported the event this year as a silver sponsor.
Day 1: Conference
As with the original Hackerkiste on site, the virtual implementation also included various rooms representing the various stages or networking rooms. The speakers were filmed in a professional green screen studio and their performance was streamed live to the audience. During the talk, all the communication went through the streaming chat, which worked perfectly. As a viewer, you had the opportunity to ask the speaker questions via this chat function, which were then answered collectively at the end of the talk. Finally, the first day was pleasantly rounded off with a funny jeopardy session.
Day 2: Barcamp & Hackathon
The second day started with the organization of the different barcamps and hackathons. In the “Orga-Room” the different hackathon topics were presented and the participants had the possibility to decide which team they wanted to join. We at Conntac had decided to continue our project from 2018 and developed a successor for the Hackerkiste app. While back then we were focusing on the combination of Qt and C++, this year’s Hackathon we wanted to work with the cross-platform framework Flutter from Google. At 11:15 a.m. we started and communicated with the external hackers in our own virtual space and “hacked” right away. Pretty fast we organized ourselves within our Hackathon team and split up into two teams. While one team implemented a UI in the material design, the other team was busy reading the data to be displayed from the hacker box website. After about 6 hours of diligent programming, it was time to present our results. And that really was something to be proud of: A runnable app for Android and iOS, with a finished user interface. A screen for the main menu, one for each of the talks, hackathons and barcamps and one for the side menu was presented at the end.
If you want to have a look or if you want to continue hacking, you can find the code by clicking the following link.
Even though the Hackerkiste was virtual this year, we had a lot of fun at our Hackathon and the interesting talks on Friday. Whether flutter beginner or professional, our teams made progress in a very short time and were able to work autonomously quite quickly. This has shown us that Flutter is a very beginner-friendly framework and leads quickly to results. We are happy to have made new contacts.
Thanks to the organizers and all motivated participants, we really enjoyed it!