Xtreme Coders 'Learn and Hack' to Perfect WP7 Platform

February 15, 2012 Pivotal Labs

What do you get when you put 30 eager developers in a room and give them a whole day with a new OS platform? You get the Xtreme-Nokia ‘Learn and Hack,’ of course! The highly anticipated internal event took place this past weekend and was a great success. A group of 30 staff, (proudly not all software engineers), happily spent their snowy Saturday at the Xtreme office learning and hacking away.

The Nokia-sponsored event was put together as a special opportunity for any interested XL staff to learn more about the platform and how to develop on it. Aside from a generous donation of 30 brand new Lumia 800 phones from Nokia, a Windows Phone 7 ‘champ,’ Atley Hunter, from Microsoft Canada graciously spent the day with the team. He was on hand to assist and teach from a technical standpoint about the platform that is run on Nokia’s Lumia 800 phones and others.

Wait! What exactly is a ‘Hackathon’ anyway?!
A Hackathon is when a group of people come together to explore and create new code how they want to, with no real restrictions, instructions or goals. Hackathons are a great opportunity for developers and coders alike to get together for collaborative, creative computer programming. These events can be just a few people getting together or a large group at one time. They’re a great opportunity to think outside the box, and to find out what developments are possible on a platform.

The morning half of the day made up the ‘Learn’ part of the event. Xtreme Labs Software Engineer Greg Burgoon, who had a hand in organizing the event, set out the day’s agenda and assisted Atley in running a tutorial on working with the WP7 platform. Some of the topics that they covered in the tutorials were:

  • Hello World
  • Network Info
  • Maps
  • Location
  • Local Storage
  • Contacts
  • Background Agents
  • Camera
  • Tiles

After a rather large pizza lunch, everyone paired off to ‘hack’ away the afternoon in hopes of further developing their skills on the platform. With just a little over three hours of working in typical ‘paired-programming’ fashion, we were amazed at what each team created. After a short dinner break pairs demoed their creations for the group.Teams created gaming apps, a personal security app, a bus locator, and an app that shows animated transitions for web views from a mobile browser.

Just like everything in life, nothing is perfect. We’d be lying if we said our ‘Learn and Hack’ event went off without a hitch. You’d probably never guess from looking at the photos, but our shipment of 30 Nokia Lumia 800 phones were held up at the US boarder all weekend. Despite this unfortunate mishap that was no one’s fault, the team still managed to have an amazing time.

We were excited and relieved to have them arrive safe and sound on Monday morning. Now we have even more to look forward to at the next hackathon happening on Saturday, February 25. Stay tuned for more details.

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