Appfire team shares takeaways from HackYeah 2022

Programming challenges and community building in one place? Say no more! After a 3-year hiatus, Appfire’s passionate team of developers demonstrated their love for coding — and for strengthening bonds within the IT community — at HackYeah, one of the biggest stationary hackathons in Europe. The 8th edition of the hackathon took place last month in Kraków, Poland, bringing together tech enthusiasts to work on tasks and challenges in two categories: Less Waste and Internet of Things. 

The rules of HackYeah are simple: Organizers and partners present teams with a wide range of tasks to work on throughout the hackathon. Teams then choose their challenge and have 24 hours to solve it in a way that offers the most effective solution for the community, record a presentation, and send it off to be reviewed by the HackYeah panel of judges. 

The last time our team took part in HackYeah was in 2019, just before the Covid-19 pandemic. That year, they made it to the finals after developing an app called SpeakAir, designed to connect people with similar interests who are waiting at airports for their flights. 

This year, five of Appfire’s Frontend Developers — Kamil Gałek, Illia Mishkin, Adam Steciuk, Dmytro Chernenko, and Paweł Smoliński — took on HackYeah once again.

Solving real-world challenges one brick at a time

As the hackathon began, the Appfire team was drawn to two of the proposed challenges.

The first challenge centered on the category of Game Development: Polish Medieval Villages and Settlements, and was sponsored by the national cultural institution Centrum Rozwoju Przemysłów Kreatywnych. Teams were tasked with creating a game that would directly reference medieval Polish rural villages in its theme.

The Appfire team designed a game called Polska murowana (Brick-and-mortar Poland), where the objective is to help King Casimir III the Great rebuild wooden houses into brick homes, and the game’s mechanics were heavily inspired by the rules of drawing board games. 

The game was written entirely in Angular. Since there was no graphic designer on the team, the crew relied on 8-bit graphics, which ultimately proved to be a hit and added to the game’s charm.

Watch the team’s presentation here, and try your luck at Polska murowana here (the game is available in PL).

The second challenge the Appfire team took on was the Quiz Generator! task sponsored by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN). The goal was to develop a solution and substantive concept for a website or application that would constitute a generator of educational quizzes and tests to support history teachers in their lessons based on resources made available by the IPN.

For this challenge, the Appfire team created an app that generated quiz questions based on keywords provided by the user and articles made available by IPN. Each question came with four answer options, with only one being correct. To develop the quiz app, our team used Python and Typescript. FastAPI framework was used for the backend. The group implemented machine learning and chose Hugging Face Transformers for natural language processing and enabling. Additionally, Firebase was used to manage users’ logins and authentication. The app’s frontend was written entirely in Angular. 

Watch the team’s presentation here

HackYeah 2022 drew more than 2,300 attendees who designed over 250 projects in 24 hours. Appfire’s Polska murowana game made it all the way to the finals and was recognized as one of the top 5 best projects for the Game Development: Polish Medieval Villages and Settlements category.

6 takeaways from HackYeah 2022

For all of the developing enthusiasts out there who are planning to take part in HackYeah 2023 or a similar event, below are some first-hand tips from Appfire’s team:

  1. Don’t leave the most difficult tasks for last. After several intensive hours of coding, your mind will be tired, it will become increasingly difficult to develop innovative solutions, and you will work at a slower pace.
  2. Ensure you have experts from different areas on your team: frontend, backend, and design. This way, it’s easier for everyone to stay focused and add value to the project. This approach will save a lot of time, and your final product will undoubtedly be more polished.
  3. Stick to tech and tools you are comfortable with and don’t spend too much time fixing problems. Time at the event is limited, and it flies by. Don’t risk losing it trying to solve complex problems or learning how to work with technologies you are not familiar with. Focus only on delivering a finished, functioning project. 
  4. Help other teams and ask for help if you need it! HackYeah is not just a competition but also an opportunity to meet thousands of coding enthusiasts! It’s also about creating solutions together that can improve the quality of someone’s life. The Appfire team had the opportunity to help another team by teaching them how to implement a Javascript-based solution on the fly. This was as valuable and rewarding for them as the final result of the hackathon.
  5. Bring your own Wi-Fi source. The organizers offer Internet access, but when more than 2,000 participants try to download numerous files at once, expect connectivity issues. That’s why it’s best to have a backup.
  6. Make sure to take a day off after the hackathon. 24 hours of intensive coding at an indoor arena can take a toll on your mind and body. Make sure you plan ahead for a day or two of rest after the event and take care of yourself. 

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