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PennApps 2012 Wrapup

Sunrise at PennApps
6:33am Sunday: the sun rises on the final day of PennApps

This past weekend Matt Keesan and I traveled down to Philadelphia for PennApps, America’s largest student-run hackathon. 48 hours, 91 teams, 320 hackers, $10K+ in prizes–any way you look at it, the event was huge. So before getting into some of our favorite hacks of the weekend, congratulations to the whole PennApps team, including frontman Pulak Mittal, for keeping the wifi, food, and energy flowing all weekend. AddThis was a proud sponsor and we’re looking forward to next semester!

Vivek Panyam, Facebook for Grandma

Vivek Panyam with his AddThis-infused Facebook for Grandma app
Advice for solo-hackers-to-be: Vivek worked in high-traffic areas of the hackathon and was accordingly flush with advice and attention from the 40 sponsors at the event. What’s more, he took the advice seriously.

Solo-hacker and UPenn freshman Vivek Panyam won the “most delicious UI” award for Facebook for Grandma, a pared-down Facebook app offering a compelling subset of features in an even more compelling package. Seriously, your grandmother just got 30 clicks closer to your photos; you’ve been warned.

Devon Peticulas and Dan Mundy, bbcat

PennApps veterans Devon Peticulas and Dan Mundy won big style points for scoping out and executing on a deceptively simple tamagotchi-inspired pet. Get your own at bbcat.co, then share it with your significant other to either test his or prove your own commitment. What impressed me most about the duo is that at the 11th-hour, when most teams were tracing syntax errors, Devon and Dan were sitting pretty, chatting about node.js design patterns and that perfect shade of beige found on the Atari 800. What’s more, they are coordinating HackRU at Rutgers next month. Maybe they’ll throw us dog-lovers a bone.

Devon Peticulas of team bbCat models AddThis shades
Devon Peticulas wears AddThis sunglasses at night. And a Venmo t-shirt for three consecutive days.

Raj, Dave, and Shiva: BuddyHack, BuddyMeme

Were there an award for the most roguish team at PennApps, the entire UMich contingent would have had to split it. Instead, we gave our own “Most Viral” award to BuddyHack, the only project that was developed, deployed, HackerNews’d, and banned before the demos even began! Luckily the team is prolific and their BuddyMeme project is still up from the Michigan Facebook Hackathon held this March. By creating a dead-simple meme generator (open-sourced, by the way) and leveraging the tight-knit nature of Facebook’s network, BuddyMeme allows memes to thrive within small social groups.

My humble self with the BuddyHack crew
I can has internship? Me and the BuddyHack team.

There were too many cool projects for me to list. AddThis was super happy to share the weekend with so many talented developers.

Web Intents and You (and AddThis)

Google Chrome 19 landed yesterday, bringing with it Web Intents, a new method for web sites/apps to communicate with one another. We wrote about Web Intents earlier this month, but now that it’s here we are making good on our promise and rolling out a suite of AddThis features to help publishers and users take advantage of Web Intents right off the bat:

Web Intents Support

Want to add Web Intent support to your site? If you use AddThis, you already have. Just drop this line into your addthis_toolbox:

<a class=”addthis_button_intent_share_url”></a>

Web Intents users will be able to share your page through their favorite intent handler just like any other service.

Intents support for non-Chrome users

Web Intents are great for Chrome users, but what about the other two-thirds of visitors? AddThis provides another one-liner to make web intents work no matter what. Set:

addthis_config.webintents = true;

and AddThis will handle Intent events in the absence of native support. Implement Web Intents however you like—in the AddThis toolbox or not—and rest assured that your visitors will have access to their preferred service.


Chrome’s response to a share intent.

The AddThis Intent Handler

For those of you testing out your brand-spanking-new Chrome installs, remember that not all of your favorite services have an intent handler in the Chrome Web Store yet. Not to worry—AddThis does! Install it as you would a normal Chrome extension and give it a spin on a demo intent.

Watch this Space

As Web Intents grows, so will our support for it. Meanwhile, we’re developing tools to enable OExchange providers to handle Web Intents and integrating intent handling into our browser extensions.

Web Intents is a new tool in your sharing arsenal, and AddThis is thrilled to support it! Your feedback on our Web Intents support is invaluable, both now and in the coming months as your implementation of intents evolves alongside Web Intents itself.