February, 22nd 2020

Birthday Hackathon

The Rules


9:00 doors open, breakfast served
10:00 Welcome session, introduction of our good friends, challenge presentation
10:30 Your turn: team building, idea pitching, birthday chaining
11:00 The hack begins
13:00 Lunch
17:00 The cake is not a lie!
21:30 Pen drop, rien ne vas plus
21:30 breathe, stretch, find your inner middle
21:45 demo time!
22:30 Award ceremony
23:00 The end

Slack & Riot

We've setup two communication endpoints for you. We think that Slack is really convenient for team communication and we invite you to join our coding.earth workspace. Once arrived join the Slack channel #birthday-hackathon. Feel free to setup local team channels as well.

If you prefer higher privacy and want to checkout distributed messagin, we recommend riot.im, a messaging client built for the Matrix protocol. It's slightly less convenient but works without any central servers. Here's our public riot.im room link.

Rules, Perks, Good to know

Birthday Hackathon is supposed to be a fun event, no pressure, no judging, no concrete challenge goals. We're asking you to hack in teams and present a 3 minute demo of what you've built during the day at 10pm.

Team Building

No one gets far when building things alone, so we strongly encourage you to work in teams of at least 2 and at most 4 people. Use the opportunity to find new friends and learn from them! We've reserved a ca. 45 minutes slot for team building in the morning.

During lunch time you'll find sheets of paper on the tables. Put your team's name on it, which challenge path(s) you're on and your own names next to it.

Find a good hacking idea

We've put some hacking ideas on the issues page of our website.

    feel free to pick up any idea there and directly approach people to build teams around the idea.

    Demo your hack at 10pm

    Don't be shy, this is your chance to put your efforts on display. Entertain us, show what you've achieved, raise awareness of your idea. We're not going to record the demos and you won't believe how proud you'll be when leaving the stage ;)

    Earn Help-Points to get an award!

    This hackathon is for the hackers and not for the winners. But of cours there will be prizes we're giving away in the end! Instead of judging your results, we came up with a better idea:

    Each participant receives 5 small sticker dots when entering the venue. We refer to them as help-points. Every time you're stuck, seek help with your fellow hackers. Every time someone helps you out, stick one (or more) help-points on your helper's computer's bottom.

    After the demos we're giving away awards for the people who collected most help-points! If you want to go home with a nice "birthday" gift, make sure to support as many people as possible.

    🍐Pear Programming

    The best way to learn something new and become a productive team, is when four (or more) eyes look at code. On Saturday we're offering all pear programmers an appropriate fruit selection. Besides the vitamine intake it's a great opportunity to share some help-points, too ;)

    #Fussbook and footwear rules

    Wild Code School is a no-shoes area and we're kindly asking all attendees to obey their rules. Lets celebrate the attitude Freeing your feet is like freeing your mind: we ask you that any picture you share on social media that day contains a foot - your foot, our feet, your team members' feet - and use the hashtag #fussbook. You guessed right: "fuß" or "fuss" means "foot" in German. Good thing: you can't even possibly break GDPR with that :)

    Make double sure to wear socks 🧦 that look good on the internet ;)

    Bonus: you can accept this as a challenge and build a social media wall displaying all the foot pictures - Footage, to stick with the joke. Here's that challenge's issue link.

    Hints for hackers.

    It might turn out to be helpful to following some best hacker practices, so we assembled some for you:

    Use the git.

    We're sure that you've heard about git version control. Basically every project is using it and it lets you collaborate on code easily. That's why you should setup a git repo for your team as soon as possible and make sure to onboard newbies if necessary. Special hint for a hackathon: Do commit early, often and merge to the trunk as soon as possible. Don't let code rot in Pull Requests or "feature" branches. Trust your teammates and combine your forces when facing conflicts. Important reminder: never ever check in any credentials into a git repo, not even at a hackathon! Use .env files (e.g. dotenv on JS) and deployment secrets to secure your tokens instead.

    Docker is great. Think thoroughly if you need it.

    Docker helps keeping your dev machine clean, is a powerful deployment tool and it gets you started with new environments in seconds. Decide early if your team and project really needs that additional layer of complexity and rigurously enable all your team members to use them. It will earn you help-points for sure!

    Ensure that everyone is on the same boat

    Understand what you try to achieve. Make sure everyone tells the same story. Then try to split tasks among your team members according to your skills.

    Go minimal

    Boil down your idea to an absolute minimum first and make it happen. No need to mock APIs, nobody cares if you're not abstracting things, go concrete and verbose, it's all about the running demo.

    Build on the shoulders of others

    Of course you won't install a strpad library from npm if your language core supports it. But try to keep your head free by trusting powerful micro frameworks, simple databases and plain Javascript services and use all the help you can find on the web.

    Learning something new vs. use what you know

    If you want to go fast, use what you already know. If you start using something that's completely new to you, you'll lose quite some time on learning it - which is great! That's actually why we're here - just be aware that you cannot eat the cake and have it, too.

    They made it possible:

    Best friends

    Good friends

    Good friends' APIs and docs

    We all strive to be good friends at this hackathon. But some friends can be considered particularly good friends and we especially ask you to have a look at their APIs and offerings:


    Twilio lets you build applications that communicate. Voice, SMS, chat at your fingertips:

    Twilio's Developer Advocate Stefan Judis will give a short overview of their APIs at 12pm in the back room.


    Lisk is an SDK for blockchains, anchored on a public decentralized ledger that they're running. If you know how to write Javascript, you can build decentralized apps on their stack:

    Lisk's advocates will also be on site that day and do a workshop and SDK intro at 12:30pm.


    Mapbox lets you build beautiful maps, allowing you to style any aspect of them. If you've ever wanted an alternative for Google Maps, this might be the service you've been looking for:

    Mapbox cannot dispatch someone to our hackathon but they come with a generous free tier and support us with good vibes.

    Nobody has to start from scratch

    There are amazing hackathon starters that you can clone and build upon:

    The "awesome" list contains a gazillion pointers to anything coding related

    If you'd like to hack on data, awesome datasets might have you covered. Kaggle of course is a one-stop-shop for ideas and data sources.

    To start with a frontend stack, make sure to checkout

    Challenge pointers

    Conversational interfaces

    Frontends to bow down for

    Engage Mr Data!

    A Lisk in Chains

    Map me, baby!

    contribute here :)

    All this info is stored in a public github repo and built upon pushes using Gatsby on Netlify. If you have something to add to the above list, go ahead, fork this repo and extend the list :) No need to build anything locally, a change and a PR to the repo's markdown files will build your branch automatically and we can merge it soon. If you want to improve this website (for next year), feel free to use it as a Gatsby & Styled (Grommet) starting point :)