Kynetx Code Run I


Candles spell out the traditional English birt...

Image via Wikipedia

Saturday was my birthday. About a month ago, I told everyone at Kynetx that what I wanted for my birthday was some cool Kynetx apps. On Thursday at noon, we shut down normal work and everyone broke into teams. They had 24 hours to program an app that would impress their competition. We called this the Kynetx Code Run; it's loosely modeled after Atlassian's FedEx Day.

The rules were pretty simple:

  1. Teams can consiste of 1, 2, or 3 people.
  2. Remote employees are encouraged to be at KWHQ for the event.
  3. Apps that can be listed in the Marketplace get extra points.
  4. You may form teams and talk about ideas before June 3, but you may NOT write any code until we start.
  5. You may work any number of the 24 hours.
  6. People who aren't Kynetx employees may participate, but each team must have at least one Kynetx employee.

There was also one rule that was specific to our platform: You may only use emits to work around limitations of the runtime and then only if you can present a short plan of how the new feature will be incorporated into the runtime later. KRL has the ability emit raw Javascript and I didn't want people building apps that didn't primarily use KRL for a few reasons:

  1. I wanted any Javascript that was used to be something we could roll into the platform for everyone's benefit
  2. I wanted people to explore the boundaries of KRL itself, both it's limitations and the features they might not have ever tried

The exercise was a rousing success. I was very pleased with the efforts of all five teams; they came up with some good apps and all of them surprised me in different ways. Here are the results.

Web Treasure Hunt - This app used KRL to create a treasure hunt across multiple Web sites for children's books. The purpose could be educational or merely fun. What surprised me about this app was the backend that allowed anyone to create a treasure hunt of their own.

Baseball - This app places a single baseball image in the upper right hand corner of certain Web pages. When you click on it, you get a modeal window that gives you baseball news and statistics from other sites as well as a schedule of upcoming games. What surprised me about this app was the great eye candy and the feature that added games to your Google calendar when you clicked on them.

WALLet - This app takes your Facebook Wall off Facebook and onto other sites where you might want to see what your friends are up to. Just want to take a quick peak at your wall without going to the Facebook site? Just tap the tab on the side of your browser and a tray slides out with the most recent posts. It even removes the posts about games so you don't have to waste your time seeing who's gathering eggs or needs fuel. What surprised me about this app is the ability to comment or post right there.

Mantones - This app starts with the premise that you some guys might like certain ringtones on their phone that are, shall we say, less than manyly. After noting the Bluetooth IDs of your friends phones, this app will switch out the ringtone on your phone for something more manly when you are in their vicinity. Of course you could also use it to silence the ringer in a conference room or your boss' office. What surprised me about this app was that it used KRL in a domain completely outside the Web: programmatically controlling your mobile device.

Barnes and Noble - This app is designed to be run as a proxy inside a BN store. The app showed specials and upcoming events. What surprised me was the ability to search events at nearby BN stores and add them to your calendar. I loved that this app was ready to demo to BN or any other retail establishment that offers free WiFi to show how Kynetx can augment that experience.

There were also a few apps written outside the game itself: Cid wrote a stand alone app that kills posts about Facebook games from your wall. I use that one now. Sam and Dave created an app that shows you where your flight is (on flights with inflight Wi-Fi) and lists Wikipedia articles about nearby places or features. Sam also created an app that uses the HTML5 geolocation information to do that same thing for HTML5 aware browsers.

In the coming weeks, we'll document each of these with a video and code, where we can, so that you can see them in more detail. Watch for them on Kynetx Code.

All in all, I was very happy with my "birthday presents." All five teams shows ingenuity and pushed the envelop in different ways. The goal of a Kynetx Code Run is for everyone to have fun and to gain some experience using our platform to build real apps. We weren't disappointed. A big thanks to everyone at Kynetx for making my birthday one to remember!