(Eng) My First Google Hackathon

Posted on September 30, 2011

gtugLong time without a post in english so here is a good reason to make one as Google Hackathons are events that can be held anywhere in the world. Few days ago i saw the following tweet which in english says “Thursday, sept 29th. Hackathon evening organized by G Paris.”.


So by curiosity and also because we are constantly looking for new talents at Minerva to help our customers getting features that best fit their PLM needs, I registered to participate to this hackathon. Google France has got new offices in Paris, definitely not at the worst place! I remember when I left Accenture they were moving out of Paris, in the suburb and a lot of people were pissed (even if most of them are on customer’s site most of the time), so in that case Google has a very nice argument for potential new comers. I’m sorry I just took one picture, but you can see the Opera Garnier outside.

Google Paris

And here is a picture taken from Google Streetview


With that being said let’s talk about the event itself. So before getting in the main room, you have to sign a legal paper to declare that you won’t talk about products that have not been published or publicaly released yet. I don’t think I’ve seen anything of that kind during the evening then I should be safe with this article.

So we were greatly welcome in the main room which looks like some sort of lunch room or casual meeting/chatting room. Every one took a seat and started opening laptops to get ready working on projects related to Google APIs. Before to start the hardcore coding session, we had a presentation by Nicolas Garnier and Alain Vongsouvanh (the organizer of this hackathon) to tell us about the APIs and mainly about OAuth 2.0. You can find the slides here. After that, some people came to explain what project they would work on during the evening. Projects were implementing the Timeline feature for Google+, editing a map with geolocalized post from Google +, analyzing Emails to help people creating Events whenever they send an email containing a date. And I presented my project which I think really wasn’t sexy enough to get some developers working on it. The project was to create a new interface, to allow Google Spreadsheets user to link Spreadsheets lines and build structures. You could then create a BOM, or a complete structure with Documents, Manufacturers,…  Here is an image to better understand it:

Google Spreadsheet Hackathon Project

Unfortunately no-one was interested. So I started by myself and with the help of my colleague Anthony who didn’t have the chance to be in Paris. We made some research on the API and discussed how we would implement it but didn’t really have time to go into hardcore devs. And Google only extend the security until 23:30 instead of midnight as planned.


Well, it’s an experience, and like any experience it is giving thoughts and reactions, so it is good. It was the first time they were organizing it in Paris. So I guess there would be some improvement in the organization next time. Maybe more beers and Pizzas! I’m not a hardcore developer so the other guys were maybe too skilled for me to join a team. I think being in a room surrounded with Whiteboard would be a nice improvement for collaboration. So as a final conclusion, I would say that i was just disappointed by realizing once again that skilled developers are more interested in creating a timeline for Google + than useful devs that could help some people in the industry and which could have a quick ROI. Not much to say. I hope next time I’ll prepare more devs in Advance so the hackathon would be more the good time to do some tuning and discuss with other about implementation technics.

Yoann Maingon

Yoann Maingon is an Entrepreneur and a PLM enthousiast. He is our main blogger at Minerva as he has been publishing articles about General PLM concepts and Aras Innovator for more than three years.

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