Microsoft Build Conference 2013 Hackathon

Due to a cancelled flight, and other delays, we missed the first day of the Hackathon, but we weren’t deterred. A coworker and I embarked on an ambitious Windows Phone/Azure application that, while incomplete, proved to be a great learning experience.

Our Windows Phone 8 application was similar to “The Amazing Race” where a player had to complete various checkpoints, and the first player to complete them all, wins.

At each checkpoint, the player would have to answer trivia based on the geographic location of that checkpoint. If a player answered correctly, he/she would be given the GPS coordinates of the next (closest) checkpoint.
If the question was answered incorrectly, he/she would be given coordinates of a checkpoint further away, causing him/her to travel a greater distance.

Things I Learned:
– When you have less than 48 hours to code (and you actually want to attend keynotes, sessions, etc.) you really need to get coding ASAP. The delayed flight really set us back.

– Hard-code everything. We used NFC tags for the checkpoints, and we used the phone’s GPS to lookup locations in the Azure database to find out which NFC tag was scanned. We ended up using SQL Server geospatial radius calculations which was cool…but super-overkill for a Hackathon. We could have faked most of that functionality.
– Don’t rebuild your laptop the day prior. None of my tools were installed, so I fumbled around installing the Azure SDK instead of hacking code.

All in all, the conference was great, and we walked away armed with some great knowledge!

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