I just spent the day with a couple of friends at the Google App Engine Hackathon in Atlanta. We got to see Google Atlanta – or the public part of it anyway. We weren’t permitted in the cafeteria or in the actual office area, which would have required signing non-disclosure agreements. The office was about what I expected — the Google colors were in abundance, there were giant bouncing balls, and free drinks! (non-alcoholic)
We spent the day in a fairly hot conference room hacking away on a variety of projects. We set up teams beforehand to work on projects that people proposed and I chose to work on a variation of a computing puzzles site, dubbed LangWar. The idea is fairly simple in the early stages: people submit programming puzzles and other people post their solutions in code form. You can vote which questions you like and which answers you like (or dislike). You can also leave comments on questions and answers. The result of the ratings is that the best questions will be counted higher, in a method similar to Reddit, and the best answers will trickle to the top based on the votes of users.
This is very similar to Stack Overflow, but different in that it is intended to be more of a puzzle solving site that pits implementations in different programming languages against each other. It’s sort of a battle royale of programming languages – thus the name, LangWar. It’s more of an enhanced version of Project Euler, where people can vote on the questions and answers.
In any case, it was a great chance to get my hands dirty in Google App Engine, meet some Atlanta python coders, and have fun. It’ll be interesting to see where LangWar goes from here, if it does go anywhere.