Students Compete Building Apps on Cloud Foundry for Social Good

August 9, 2012 Cloud Foundry

On July 13, VMware Foundation kicked off #ContributingCode, a two-week long event in Palo Alto, California, to encourage local students to build applications focused on a social and community benefit. With over 100 local students and VMware interns participating, we encouraged the students to develop in teams. Their projects were judged on their potential social impact, alignment with the sponsored app challenges, and competent software engineering.

Using Cloud Foundry as their platform, the teams could choose to develop their applications among several frameworks, including Spring, Node.js and Ruby on Rails. They could also use a variety of application services. In our experience, such events have produced great ideas and apps, but there is precious little follow though after the competition. Since social good was the theme of the event, we also required the teams to open source their code, so others could leverage and continue the good work.

We were delighted by the level of interest and creativity shown by the participants. In keeping with the larger development trends, a majority of the apps submitted were mobile apps and apps that integrate with social platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Use of multimedia and geo location features was popular and several teams chose to work with Node.js, Spring and MongoDB.

Here are the top three apps.

Grand Prize Winners

First place:

Team Dotly built a mobile app named Civicly for Android using Node.js and received the top score. Civicly enables community residents report and track local issues. The app serves to warn others of malfunctioning civic resources and helps keep municipal authorities more accountable. The Parse API is used to store the user data and the issues posted from the Android app. The Node.js app running on receives notifications of the issues in real time and updates the web application via web sockets.

Second place:

Team Buddy built the Charity Match Facebook app which helps Facebook users find charities by mining the interests identified in their Facebook account and suggests charities to donate to. The app was built using the Spring MVC web application framework, Facebook and the Charity Navigator APIs. As shown in the architecture diagram provided by the team below, the Login view and its corresponding controller communicates with Facebook security APIs to authenticate users and authorize the app to collect user information. The Home view and its corresponding controller fetch and analyze the user’s information to derive the charity search keywords that are then fed into Charity Navigator search. The results are then parsed and displayed so the user can select and donate to a list of charities that are most aligned to his or her interests.

Third place:

Team RedThread placed third. RedThread is an app to help you post and view photos of places of interest in real time. This way you are always up to date with information on suspicious or unsafe activity and helps you to know the most relevant information in the location you want to visit. This app is written using Node.js.

To see a complete list of winners, click here.


A big thanks to all the participants and our partners Code for America, SocialCoding4Good and GitHub! It was surprising how much was accomplished in just two weeks. We look forward to doing more of these in other locations as well.

Follow #ContributingCode on Facebook.

About the Author


How Big Data is Transforming Search Engines into Personal Assistants
How Big Data is Transforming Search Engines into Personal Assistants

With Siri and Voice Search, Apple and Google are going head-to-head to create search products that behave m...

Tracker Screencast: Reorganize panels with multiple story selection, cloning panels, and more!
Tracker Screencast: Reorganize panels with multiple story selection, cloning panels, and more!

When you're running East and the project goes West, it's time to reorganize the backlog. This can be painf...

SpringOne 2021

Register Now