Anant Narayanan
Anant Narayanan Dev Evangelist March 07, 2013

Firebase at LAUNCH Hackathon 2013

We sponsored the LAUNCH Hackathon this past weekend, and it was a blast! This was the longest hackathon we’ve ever attended - it began at 2:00 PM on Saturday and went for 48 hours straight until 2:00 PM on Monday - and a ton of really interesting projects came out of it.

We were one of the API sponsors at the event, and most of our time was spent going around helping teams build their hacks. We also handed out swag to the 400 enthusiastic hackers (it wouldn’t be a real hackathon without swag, would it?), after we told them what Firebase was, of course.

At code freeze on Monday, we were really proud that 37 projects used Firebase, the 2nd most-used API (just after Amazon AWS, with 39)! There were a total of 17 APIs in use. We had a chance to listen to pitches from all of the teams that used Firebase on Monday evening, which was a very humbling experience. The sheer amount of creativity in that room over just 2 days was remarkable, and some of these “hacks” had the level of polish you’d expect from a business that has been running for years. By the end of the day, the top 10 teams were shortlisted, 5 of which were powered by Firebase!

There was an incredible variety of projects, we saw everything ranging from developer tools to consumer apps, from enterprise solutions to online learning platforms. This blog post would get too long if we described all the projects that used Firebase - and every one of them was awesome - so we’ll just cover a few to get a general idea of what people built.

Gempad is a creative iOS App that serves as a input device (in addition to a keyboard or mouse). You can program it to give you quick access to commonly performed tasks. Running Makefiles, switching workspaces, or even macros for your favorite games - anything is possible! Gempad uses Firebase to transmit these commands between the phone and your Mac in real-time.

X-Pointer is a Windows phone app that lets you not only control your presentations remotely, but also annotate them and use a laser-like pointer (without any lasers!). Even better, multiple people can update the screen from their own phones. The app uses Firebase to synchronize all the events like pointer movements and screen drawings from several phones to the presentation device.

Disco Sync is a cross-platform (mobile AND desktop!) app for everyone looking to participate or host a silent DJ session. You can join or create rooms and stream music from your device’s standard output. The app uses Firebase to synchronize all the metadata associated with rooms and streams (like the live updating listener count). The best part? The source code is on Github, so if there’s something you don’t like, send in a pull request!

Seshcode is a platform that connects people who are looking for programming help with experts. Once a match is found, the pair can video chat (using WebRTC, no plugins required!) and collaborate on code using the in-browser code editor. The site’s backend is powered by Firebase!

Simple WIP is a work-in-progress tracker for teams. The app lets members effortlessly share what they’re working on, and what they need help with, so teams can be more effective. Fewer meetings, more work! All of Simple WIP’s data backend is based on Firebase.

To show our appreciation, we gave out prizes to 5 teams that we thought made the best use of Firebase. The top team walked away with Firebase credits worth $2500 and an iPad Mini. The next two received $1000 in credits, and our runner-up prize was $500 in credits. Congratulations to Gempad, Disco Sync, Sky Spy, Peazl and Bounty Flow!

Firebase exists to help builders and makers create extraordinary experiences. We’re very proud to see so many of them come to fruition, here’s to many more!

(Do you know of other cool projects written using Firebase? Let me know!)

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