The Hackerkiste has been taking place every September since 2017. But due to the pandemic, which has already had a major impact on our everyday lives this year and will continue to do so, the organisers had to come up with an adapted format. It quickly became clear that the Hackerkiste would not be held locally this year. So for the first time, the fourth edition of this event took place completely virtually. In this article, we would like to share our experiences with the virtual Hackerkiste 2020 with you.
What is the Hackerkiste?
This event – whether on-site or remote – is a mixture of conference, barcamp and the most exciting part for us, the hackathon. This gives students, graduates, programmers, designers, web developers, start-ups and anyone with an enthusiasm for the topic of digitalisation the opportunity to make contacts, gather new impressions or demonstrate their skills.
The main topics were:
The organisers 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 at Conntac supported the event this year as a silver sponsor.
Day 1 of the Hackerkiste: Conference
As with the original hackers’ box on site, there were also different rooms in the virtual implementation representing the different stages or networking rooms. The speakers were filmed in a professional green screen studio and their performance was made available to the audience via a live stream. During the talk, all communication took place via the streaming chat, which worked flawlessly. As an audience member, you had the opportunity to ask the speaker questions via this chat function, which were then answered collectively at the end of the lecture. The first day was rounded off with a cosy round of Jeopardy.
Day 2: Hackerkiste Barcamp and Hackathon
The second day started with the organisation of the various barcamps and hackathons. In the “Orga Room”, the different hackathon topics were presented and the participants could decide which team they would like to join.
We at Conntac decided to follow up on our 2018 project and develop a successor to the Hackerkiste app. While we still relied on the combination of Qt and C++ back then, we wanted to hold this year’s hackathon with the cross-platform framework Flutter from Google.
At 11:15 a.m. we were able to communicate with the external hackers in our own virtual room and “hack” away. Pretty quickly we organised ourselves within our hackathon team and initially split into two teams. While one team implemented a UI in material design, the other team dealt with reading out the data to be displayed from the hacker box website.
After about 6 hours of hard programming, it was time to present our result. And that is really something to be proud of: An executable app for Android and iOS, for which the user interface has also been completed. We were able to present one screen for the main menu, one each for the Talks, Hackathons and Barcamps, and one for the side menu at the end.
If you want to have a look or hack some more, you can find the code at the Conntac-GitHub.
Our conclusion on the 2020 Hackerkiste:
Even though the Hackerkiste was virtual this year, we had great fun at our Hackathon and the interesting talks on Friday. Regardless of whether they were Flutter beginners or professionals, our teams made progress in a very short time and were able to work autonomously quite quickly. This showed us that Flutter is a very beginner-friendly framework and gets results quickly. We are pleased to have made new contacts.
Thanks to the organisers and to all the motivated participants, we really enjoyed it!
Author: Niki Fourkioti