Over the weekend, the Google Developer Group Lusaka met for the Google I/O Extended and HTML hackathon as a follow up of the annual Google I/O conference which is that magical time of the year when we are awed by Google’s latest in innovation and tools for developers. Google Developer Group Lusaka (GDG Lusaka) is a user group for people who are interested in Google’s developer technology which is everything from the Android and App Engine platforms, to product APIs like the YouTube API and the Google Calendar API, to initiatives like OpenSocial and products like Google Glass. There was no doubt that we were all excited to see the highlights of the event.
The day began with a screening of the keynote speech from the event in San Francisco. Google, as expected, dazzled us with an array of new tools for developers. Even our newest members were intrigued by the new API’s which included Cross Platform Single Sign-in for social media, a virtual fence API for location and mapping apps and a multiplayer head to head API for android game development. The new Android Studio was also launched which is said to be the standard platform for creating android apps from now on. Also part of the keynote was a review of the spectacular Chomebook Pixel which is the highest screen resolution of any device out there.
After getting well into the keynote, it was time to begin the precursor to the HTML hackathon by having a few quick tutorials and pitching ideas for the android apps that would be created the next day. As many members were new to programming we decided to keep the ideas simple but interesting. There were many ideas pitched and it took 3 rounds of voting to narrow it down to the 5 apps for the next day. The groups were assigned leaders and the software which was to be used the next day was distributed and installed. Day one ended with some group pictures and mingling.
On Sunday, the day began with confirming our teams and getting started with the coding right away. It was a slow start but by noon people had gained momentum and by the end of the day everyone accomplished their set tasks.
At 5PM we began to showcase the apps we had created which included the following
1. TribeZ – A mobile encyclopedia of Zambian tribes and their history
2. Counter – A simple slide-to-count application
3. BMI calculator – An app that calculates your Body Mass Index and returns your weight classification
4. Organiser – A stylish organiser that helps you keep track of tasks and events taking place during the week.
5. Cheationry – A scrabble dictionary with a quickly accessible list of words and their scores.
The apps are all complete but some groups enjoyed working together so much that they have decided to continue working to improve their projects as well as enhance their programming skills. Our new members were introduced to Google technology through the most important and exciting event in the Google universe. All in all, the event was a success and we’re looking forward to seeing our community grow and become an active node of Google developers in Africa.
“It was an eye opener on just how little ideas can really change the way we do things. Put 23 people in a room and you will be shocked how much we can do.” -David Ridwan
If you would like to join the Google Developer Group Lusaka, you can start by connecting to one of our networks and meeting us at our next event.
or contact Daryl Lukas