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MarkLogic World Hackathon: What Would You Do With the Data Hub Framework?

by Trinh Lieu

MLW18 Hackathon
Hackathon attendees watch a team presentation and demo at MarkLogic World 2018

(updated May 23, 2018)

At this year's MarkLogic World, the annual conference for MarkLogic users, we hosted a new, exciting challenge known as the Hackathon.

Held in the Developer Lounge, the Hackathon challenged conference attendees to dive right in to the new MarkLogic 9.0-5 and build something to show off what they could do with the Data Hub Framework. Participants who accepted the challenge teamed up with strangers, got their hands dirty, and ended up learning a ton along the way.

After a full day of training, we gathered on Monday night to kick things off. Tamas Piros, MarkLogic principal technical instructor and courseware developer, was the emcee for the week, covering ground rules and pointing out resources. The Hackathon ran until Wednesday night, wrapping the event up with presentations, judging, and prizes.

The challenge had three criteria: use the Data Hub Framework, use the datasets provided, and do so in as creative a way as possible. The true challenge was in using the data itself!

JSON, XML, and Binaries Together

We wanted the developers to have a variety of data formats so that they could see for themselves how easy it was to integrate data with MarkLogic. We let developers play with our favorite TV and films for the challenge, giving them JSON documents about films, XML documents about TV series, and DVD cover images of films and TV series.

We formed teams of three, purposely separating colleagues so participants could meet new people. We also distributed MarkLogic expertise so that those with many years of experience were teamed up with folks new to the product. Then, we paired teams with a MarkLogic mentor who would guide them through their brainstorming, collaboration, and troubleshooting.

The Developer Lounge was open the entire duration of the conference so that participants could quickly drop by to get help with their projects from the staff. Some of the participants had never worked on MarkLogic before, let alone the Data Hub Framework. However, team members quickly learned by working side-by-side with the folks responsible for engineering it!

"I was real hesitant to join the Hackathon due to my lack of experience with MarkLogic, but … I really enjoyed participating as I learned more in those 48 hours than I have in the entire time I've spent with MarkLogic previously," said Blake Milam, systems analyst from Chevron. "I really liked the open-ended nature of the contest. Participants really went in all directions and came up with some great ideas that I never could have dreamed up."

What were some of those great ideas?

And the Winner Is…

Team HiFive Coders, comprised of Serge Colle from MindStep Corporation, Padmavathi Kalidindi from Selective Insurance, and Brian Zatz from NBC Universal, took home the coveted first place prize. The team was inspired by the event’s theme to "Innovate to Integrate", as they prioritized loading, transforming, integrating, and enriching the data.

They built an application that allows a user to browse and search a repertoire of movies and TV series based on attributes. And because integrating more data is easy in MarkLogic, they enriched the given data with LinkedMDB, Trailer Addict, and The MovieDB.

Screenshot of Winning Project Demo
Screenshot of #MLW18 Hackathon winning project, a browse and search tool for movies and TV series

HiFive Coders had even planned on showing the cover images and offering a trailer to play if time had allowed. Great job Team HiFive Coders!

Hackathon Winners
Team HiFive Coders (from left to right) with their MarkLogic mentor Greg Nist far left: Serge Colle, Padmavathi Kalidindi, and Brian Zatz

I also want to give a shout out to the second place team, Team Funpedia. Jayanthy Chengan, University of Toronto; Blake Milam, Chevron; and Neha Punjabi, Cognizant, built a website branded Fletnix (where “Netflix meets Wiki”) that displayed the data and facets for genre, country, and language. They also used triples to represent relationships between actors, movies/shows, and countries. Pretty impressive!

All in all, we are extremely happy with the results of this year’s Hackathon. Gabriel Aviles of Orbis Technologies quotes, “It was the best part of the conference for me.” We are already planning ahead for MarkLogic World 2019 in aims to make the next Hackathon experience even better.

Want to try your hand at the challenge? Download MarkLogic 9.0-5, take the Data Hub Framework course, get started building an Operational Data Hub, grab the data sets, and see what you come up with!

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