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Open Apps Day Barcelona aftermath

Two weeks ago, we had a blast organising the Firefox OS Open Apps Day here in Barcelona. With more than 60 participants, we spent the day having conversations, thinking about fantastic apps you can build for Firefox OS and last but not least, a few hours of intense hacking.

Here is how the day developed:

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After participants presented themselves quickly, we kicked off with an interactive session, igniting a conversation about different aspects of current state of Apps.
Central statements for this conversation were: The current state of Apps offers equal opportunity to both developers and store providersI have remorse when I use WhatsApp; In a near future, a mobile App will substitute my GP doctor.

This conversation setted-up the ground for a round of brainstorming and thinking at which kind of webapps could we build for Firefox OS. And there were dozens of ideas, from to-do lists, event managers to local social networks.

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Presentations – keep it short, 5 minutes! This time I tried to adopt the speedgeek model for presentations. The reason: give more hours to the actual hack and less to the yack, keep it short and focused. Here are the presentations:

And there was the 4 hours hacking session:

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Prototyping webapps. Hacking doesn’t mean mean only writing code, but thinking, iterating and designing scenarios. Some of the participants spent some time paper prototyping.

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Learning JavaScript by making a game. This is what Sergio did, building  a Ping Pong game in JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS.

The RESTfull hackerspace. During the event we had a special room for people interested in physical webmaking. Thanks to Casey who set-up everything, participants had an access to a cluster of Arduinos, sensors and just focus on building webapps. And, as I heard, there were interesting conversations around energy consumption to local storage.

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And thanks goes to: Cecilia and David at MOB – who hosted us and helped with logistics! Casey for supporting with the event and made the makerspace happen; Toni for spending all day giving p2p support and helping participants with technical issues related to Marketplace and HTML5 apps! Jordi and Eduard for joining during the day to help with logistics and registration.
And of course to the presenters and Havi from Mozilla DevEngagement (for the great resources she shared with us)!

Feedback and what to make better next time:

Feedback is always welcome to make events better. Indeed there could be next Open Apps events (that depends on a series of factors). So, my thoughts for an eventual series of Open Apps events are:

  • organize smaller events (like 3 – 4 hours session) focused on learning/solving/making specific things;
  •  someone suggested a larger event (2 days hackjam) with prizes for participants. I’m not a fan of 2 days/one night continuous hackjam and not a fan of prizes for demos. A 2 days event is doable of course, but this requires lots of resources and preparations.
  • Our challenge is to make better HTML5 and JavaScript (web native) apps. FirefoxOS is not competing with current mobile platforms, but challenging them, helping to evolve the apps ecosystem into a more open, participatory and full of choices . And pushing the limits of the web to the edges requires some research, inventiveness and lot of learning. I’m thinking to design the next “open apps days” around those lines.
  • Help others locally to organize Open Apps Days and specific FirefoxOS days.
  • Make the hackerspace a stable piece in all the events. More on this soon. There cold be some interesting stuff at the intersection of small/cheap computers, sensors and the web.

Demos and more photos are coming up in the next days!