PHPThrowdown Coding Contest

This weekend, Kevin (boyfriend) and I took part in the first PHPThrowdown event. While its true that programming contests aren’t new, I haven’t seen one that seemed relevant to me for a while and they do take a lot of organisation – so kudos to the organisers including fellow PHPWomen.org -er Elizabeth Naramore.

The categories were:

  1. php-gtk
  2. inventory management (either home, work.. etc)
  3. games
  4. anything goes

We don’t know much about php-gtk and we were certainly not going to go there in the games category as its likely to be very popular, so we thought we’d think up something on the home/office line and ideas of calendars and to-do lists got kicked about. The problem with something you are going to write in 24 hours and which is going to be tested by people standalone is that a) you need to get content from somewhere or they won’t stay long and b) it has to be relatively simple or you’ll have a lot of buggy functionality and not much else.

So it was that playTAG was born. It turns out that it isn’t an especially new idea, disappointingly, and there are lots of games which work by challenging you to traverse from A to B using related tags. An example is the Wikington Crescent game on Wikipedia. We drew our page layout, data structures and who-does-what lists up and then we began the 24 hour marathon.

The Marathon Begins

So its wasn’t much of a marathon. I went to a party a couple of hours after the contest started and that was it from me for the first 12 hours!! Kevin did much better and managed almost 8 hours before he went to bed. I got up early (ish) and looked at his notes from the night before … we had to check in every six hours so I swiftly did that and then settled down to write my bit. We were both on stream for the final 8 hours and made something which actually works.

Our strategy all along was for me to deal with the admin, making sure we had the right check-ins, writing the README file, and packing the thing. Kevin kept going, ironing out problems and also adding the features as it became clear what we had time for.

The final result

Well the judging starts now and will go on for a while. I’m sure we won’t be hearing anything more about it but since I’m so proud of our day’s work I’ve put a version online to show you! Here it is: playTAG – enjoy :)

3 thoughts on “PHPThrowdown Coding Contest

  1. OK, so I just uploaded a new version of the game... now you can choose whether you want to play with del.icio.us tags or with flickr tags, and it'll start you with tags from the relevant place as well (as there aren't many photos on flickr tagged with "rss" but there's loads of URLs on del.icio.us tagged with it).

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