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Yahoo!: 'Open'ing up a New Echelon of Competition

Jayakishore Bayadi
Monday, October 6, 2008
Jayakishore Bayadi
Over 300 software wizards swept onto the Yahoo!'s campus in Sunnyvale, California to take up the challenge of developing creative apps in 24 hours.

It's neither just an application writing competition nor a pizza-and-soda-fueled opportunity to play with potent Yahoo! APIs to win awards. For developers it’s an occasion to reach Yahoo!’s huge audience for their applications by building them on top of Yahoo!'s Web Infrastructure. "We really want to drive innovation for the industry itself," says Ari Balogh, CTO, Yahoo!.

Hence, if you are a developer with a dream to impact an insane number of people with your work, the Open Hack Day should be a perfect platform for you. "It's a cool and one of the most happening events where you can write code that will meaningfully reach millions of Yahoo! users in a single bound. That's the promise of an open Yahoo!," said David Filo, Co-founder and Chief, Yahoo! while chatting with this author over coffee. The event was open to anybody who is a developer, who can toy around with many Yahoo! platforms. Be it YOS application platform, Yahoo! Mail developer platform, social programming interfaces, and APIs (application programming interfaces), to participants (Ethical hackers) so that they can build onto Yahoo! UI libraries, which is a set of utilities and controls written in JavaScript, for building richly interactive Web applications using techniques such as DOM scripting, DHTML, and AJAX; and produce APIs like MyBlogLog, Delicious, FireEagle, SearchMonkey, BOSS, and Flickr with their great ideas. Yahoo! had organized its first Open Hack day in 2006. Since then Open Hack Days have been held all over the globe, including London and Bangalore.
The Fun Day at Yahoo!

Let's take a peep into the fun side of the latest hack day and some details about how it went on. A day before the actual D-day, all the registered folks were given tutorials to make them comfortable with Yahoo! APIs and UIs. In the evening of the first day they hung out and chatted with their fellow hackers. There was no stop in having pizzas, donuts, toffees, soft drinks, and chilling beer cans which were in abundant supply. Around 50 of them pitched tents on Yahoo! lawn. It was absolute fun day for geeks cheering and dancing to the rock music by Girl Talk, a musician who specializes in mixing up other people’s music and is known for his live shows, before they started hacking, which went on till next afternoon.
In short, it was a 24-hour hack fest complete with kegs, old school video games, and outdoor rock concert and an open, collaborative, community atmosphere for developing the next great application. Needless to say, all these truly set the tone for the fun-filled event.
The most exciting session in the event was project presentation session on the second day, where more than 50 geeks presented the exciting applications they built overnight. "It was really great. Yahoo! truly does want to foster open, collaborative, community oriented development for the Web," exclaimed Sijith, an employee of Yahoo! and Saroda Gaurav, an engineer with Nvidia, who presented their innovative apps they built previous night. There were celebrity judges like Cheryl Ainoa, VP of Yahoo! Media Engineering; Ash Patel, David Filo of Yahoo!; Rashmi Sinha, CEO of SlideShare; Jeff Clavier, investor extraordinaire; Matt Mullenweg, founder of Wordpress; and Om Malik, CEO of GigaOm.

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