Author Archives: David F. Flanders

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RepoChallenge Winners!

For the second year in a row the Developer Challenge at Open Repositories has revealed the significant contribution developers can make when asked to “show us the future of repositories”! This year over a dozen submissions were entered in the competition. Both JISC and Microsoft put up prizes for the top two prototypes. Four esteemed judges carefully selected a shortlist from the dozen, including (in no particular order):

* EM-LOADER by Fred Howell, Ian Stuart, Theo Andrew
* MentionIt by Tim Donohue
* EPrintsAppStore by David Tarrant, Tim Brody
* REPresent by Anoop Kumar
* FedoraFS by Rebecca Koeser
* DiscVac by Patrick McSweeney

From this list two winners were chosen, a champion and runner-up. The decision between the two came down to a single vote as both were worthy winners. The second place runner up was a prototype called FedoraFS by Rebecca Koesar who exposed Fedora as a desktop filestore using Fuse, while only a command line prototype at this point the ease of overlaying a Graphical User Interface with file-folder icons is all but a done deal:


The winner and new “RepoChallenge Champion” is Tim Donohue who coded up his MentionIt prototype with less than three-hundred lines of javascript. The idea itself was noted for its user centric focus on how the repository can actually bring value to the individual end user. By pulling back comments accross the web to the original repository paper the end user is able to see what is being said about the paper and where it is getting the most feedback.


Both Tim and Rebecca will be given $2000.00USD to use on attending the conference of their choice. Further judges comments and interviews with the winners will follow soon, so watch this (rss) space!

And the winner is!

The winner of the Developer Decathlon (including the £5,000.00 grand prize) is “List8D” by team Bsmmmm (Ben Charlton, Simon Yeldon, Matt Bull, Matt Spence, Matthew Slowe and Mark Fendley)! Read about their innovation and achievement on the JISC website!

Runner up (and winner of the £2,000.00 prize) is Lazy Lecturer by team “Three Lazy Geeks” (Ian Ibbotson, Mia Ridge and Peter Sefton). Watch their entry here.

Third place was close in the race as well, coming down to the wire and most deserving of some recognition (and potentially one of the most entertaining screencasts), the “sh!” prototype by team Rangtangdingdong (John Harrison, Ross McFarlane and Rob Sanderson). Video of prototype here.

Overall as stated in the last post (and shown by the glowing judges remarks) the competition was fierce and all the entries are incredibly deserving. We can only hope that most of these prototypes will be submitting a bid to the recently announced JISC funding call for projects in Rapid Innovation (tag: JISCRI). Make sure to stop by the last post and have a watch of all the prototypes.

We have a winner of the developer decathlon (nearly)…

As you all know, the finale event at dev8D was the Developer Decathlon which required project teams to rapidly build prototype apps based on real user cases (we even imported some real users into the event where they had to experience developers in the wild!). Full entry submissions and explanations by the team of the prototype are posted here:

The list of prototypes entered for the competition (listed in order of submission time):

no.1 – “STagMonger 3000” prototype by Team Flaming Hensoft
no.2 – “EntityBus” prototype by Team AZ
no.3 – “List8D” prototype by Team Bsmmmm
no.4 – “Lazy Lecturer” prototype by Team Three Lazy Geeks
no.5 – “Visual Transparency” prototype by Team OUseful
no.6 – “SpACE tool” prototype by team SpACEmen
no.7 – “AdAway” protoype by team AdAway
no.8 – “splashurl” prototype by team halfHourHacks
no.9 – “sh!” prototype by team Rangtangdingdong

The five judges who selected the winner for the Developer Decathlon were carefully picked to represent a broad spectrum of users and developers across UK. The judges had no easy task given the quality of submissions. Not only was there value in each prototype there was some very tough decisions the judges had to make in ranking the submissions, some comments from the judges on each prototype below:

“STagMonger 3000” prototype by Team Flaming Hensoft:
“Great app and would like to see this exist for real.”

“EntityBus” prototype by Team AZ:
“Neat demonstration of what a REST list service can look like…neat infrastructure app.”

“List8D” prototype by Team Bsmmmm:
“Good idea, convincing screencast, well thought out further development. I can see this being taken forward in a number of directions…I believe, this clearly demonstrates the applicability of the solution both immediately and in the forseeable future.”

“Lazy Lecturer” prototype by Team Three Lazy Geeks:
“Really comprehensive treatment of the problem and associated issues. Worth pursuing I think… As a solution this is a good idea and was produced by genuine collaboration at the Dev8D event.”

“Visual Transparency” prototype by Team OUseful:
“I like this, simple idea but well presented and very useful…The output from would be highly relevant to some users and immediately useful.

“SpACE tool” prototype by team SpACEmen (second video here):
“This is an excellent tool…I’d like to see this project getting its code out there, it looks like just the kind of thing that people would work with and contribute to… Nice idea – slick and well developed.”

“AdAway” protoype by team AdAway:
“Neat idea. I love the simplicity of the concept. Great presentation… I can’t help but to say that I love the concept behind this. Simple, anarchic, directly useful and best of all, implementable.”

“splashurl” prototype by team halfHourHacks:
“Nice, simple, does what it says on the tin…made on the day, works well and has since been updated to optionally give QR codes which might be even more useful, now that more and more people have internet enabled micro devices like the iPhone.”

“sh!” prototype by team Rangtangdingdong:
“Social networks without the need to say who is in your network are important. This is one excellent way of doing it….Supercool, Inventive and ambitious…. good prototype.”

Despite all this great works the judges had to make some decisions and so we bring the first decision to you now!

Below is a shortlist of prototypes that are eligible for winning, we will announce the winner and runner-up of the competition later this week so stay tuned!

Shortlist of potential winners for the Developer Decathlon at dev8D (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER):

“List8D” prototype by Team Bsmmmm

“Lazy Lecturer” prototype by Team Three Lazy Geeks

“sh!” prototype by team Rangtangdingdong

“splashurl” prototype by team halfHourHacks

“SpACE tool” prototype by team SpACEmen (second video here):

Free accommodation in London for dev8D

For all of you looking to attend dev8D we are offering free accommodation for you at the boutique London hostel Palmer’s Lodge (only a tube stop away from Bloomsbury). To get this free accommodation you’ll need to fill out this form. Please keep in mind that filling out this form does not guarantee the accommodation. We’ll accept the first 50 people who sign up, and let everyone know if they did or did not sign up in time. Our apologies in advance to any of you who were not able to get the free accommodation, however there are more than enough hotels in the Bloomsbury area.

For those of you with the budget for a hotel, we are holding rooms at the IBIS hotel on Euston Road (quote “Birkbeck” when booking). Also here is a map of some other local hotels. It is also worth getting on and searching for places near the ‘British Museum’ or ‘British Library’ which will all put you within walking distance of Birkbeck College.

Registration is still open but almost full so if you know any developers who you think would be well placed for one of the dev8D days please send them to the registration form. We are looking for developers from any domain, not just the so come one, come all!

Free accommodation in London for dev8D participants!

One of the things we identified early with this event is that it is often difficult for novice developers to get to these types of events (especially given the current economic climate). Some on the event committee including myself had even taken time off of work and paid our own way to get to good events! Accordingly for dev8D, we wanted to make sure the barriers were as low as possible for people to attend. So in the spirit of a true barCamp we’ve hired out 50 beds at the Palmer’s Lodge boutique hostel* in central London to give out for free to anyone who wants to come to the event!

So as to make sure giving away this accommodation is as fair as possible, we’ll officially announce the sign-up form in less than one week: Monday January 19th at 9am we’ll post the link to sign up for this free accomodation. The beds will be given out on a first come first served basis so make sure you grab the RSS feed for this blog. We’ll also email all those who have signed up on the RSVP form, so get your name down there as well!

If you haven’t seen this boutique hostel do visit the Palmer’s Lodge website as it really is not your average hostel! Other than being a converted mansion (originally built by Biscuit Tycoon Samuel Palmer) it also includes a lovely continental breakfast and great fast free WiFi. All of this for free if you manage to sign up in time; and in addition you can scheme late into the night with your fellow developer (there is a very reasonably priced bar and indoor patio there as well).