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Utkarsh's mind.random() on Programming, India and Startups

eBay University Hackathon 2011 – A Review


Last week, me and 2 of my friends decided to go to the university hackathon organized by eBay. It was fun! We built a python-django based web app called BuildMyPc, a vertical shopping app, something like SparkBuy, but built using eBay data.

Why? Because if you want to customize a desktop at home, there is nothing like buying cheap parts from eBay!

And our app was judged 2nd! The first prize went to an app built with some awesome javascript + eBay API hackery.

Anyway, some highlights:

  1. We were using python for the first time. Yes. This was the first time we were using python and django.
  2. eBay API were very new to us.
  3. We had 14hrs to build a working prototype. It was fun! Photographs of the event on Flickr
  4. Something good came out of the hackathon, we are building a python wrapper for eBay API, called python-ebay. It’s an excuse to work more on python and help the eBay at the same time :D

ebay developer program

The freebies we got were awesome: Raffles every hour for iPod, Apple TVs, gaming keyboards etc (alas, I had an unlucky number :( ), Snuggies for all of us, 24hr supply of RedBull, eBay developers support through out the Hackathon, more eBay Developer Program swag like T-Shirts and stickers!

Now, coming to the review, how was my experience? Well, it was mixed. eBay API documentation is vast and at times, it’s an information overload.

For example, look at this FindProducts API call reference vs. Google’s custom search API call reference.

I understand, it’s like comparing apples to oranges, but keeping aside the actual functional perspective of the API, it’s not intuitive enough.

An interesting read: What Developers Say About API Documentation

I am sure eBay Developer Program is working really hard to constantly improve it, keeping in mind eBay API is one of the oldest API on the internet. And as of now, we are working on python-ebay which hopefully should be complete by end of this month.

A screenshot of our hack:

Written by Utkarsh

May 31st, 2011 at 2:03 am

Posted in Technology

2 Responses to 'eBay University Hackathon 2011 – A Review'

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  1. Cool stuff man :-) Hackathons and all. I like this dev culture in the US.


    28 Jun 11 at 5:22 am

  2. Yeah, especially in northern California, there are such developer centric events every day!! It’s awesome!

    I end up missing a lot of them.


    28 Jun 11 at 8:35 pm

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