Last weekend, I took part in a hackathon organized right where I live - Coimbra, Portugal. The name of the event is Shift APPens and around 50 people took part in teams to try and make a fresh new app in just 48 hours.

Some friends and I had come up with the idea for a website that let you solve programming exercises in a multiplayer real-time environment. The goal was to create a play to learn ecosystem where quick contests are used to practice programming and problem solving. And so CodeBattles was born:

CodeBattles is an online platform for solving simple programming exercises in a real-time competitive environment. The idea is to have people engage in friendly contests against friends or unknowns to have fun and improve their programming skills.

Basically, any user is free to start or join an existing room where they have 2 minutes to solve simple programming exercises. Users are given a base ranking of 1200 and depending on how well they do after a series of these problems, this ranking will be updated.

We already knew what we were going to use to build CodeBattles - Meteor. In fact, we picked Meteor because it does so much for us. It provides us with all the synchronism and reactivity that we could ever want.

We ended up winning the hackathon! And here’s a screenshot of what we built.

The hackathon experience was awesome and I’m looking forward to the next one - Codebits.