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Hackathons have been a big part of current web API movement. They are one of the most meaningful ways API owners can connect with developers in person.  Twilio, Amazon and Facebook have all used hackathons to build their ecosystems.

I started a section on API Evangelist in 2011, dedicated to hackathons. And in early 2012 I rolled this section out as its own site, hackweekends.com.  Over 2012 the number of hackathons has grown significantly--making it difficult to ignore hackathons as channel for reaching developers.

This weekend I migrated the Hack Weekends directory to run on Github. It uses Github Pages and Jekyll for the blog. I deployed mustache templates and JSON files for the events calendar and curated news section. I’m working on ways to easily crowdsource the management of Hack Weekends, while establishing it as an open source hub for the hackathon community.

In addition to establishing Hack Weekends as a hub for the community, I wanted to create a guide to throwing hackathons. So anyone can organize their own event. To help feed this, I’ve been gathering my own research on hackathons from attending, mentoring, hacking and organizing hackathons over last 2 years.

I also knew that there was other really good information available from other hackathon experts. So I pulled together the best, open information on throwing hackathons and combined it with my own research. Pulling content from:

With this content and my experience I wanted to organize into something more. Remixing and setting into motion, a guide that anyone can use to organize a hackathon.

While maintaining the calendar for Hack Weekends, I see a lot of hackathon sites. To accompany the Hack Weekends Guide I wanted hackathon organizers to be able to easily deploy a website in support of the event.

The Hack Weekends Guide comes with a hackathon website template as part of the Github repository. So all you have to do is fork the Hack Weekends Guide, and you get a detailed guide in addition to a website. It is up to you, which parts of the guide you will use--as little or as much as you feel necessary.

The Hack Weekends directory, guide and website is meant to be community owned. You can deploy any hackathon with the guide and site, and participate in marketing your hackathons using Hack Weekends and other partner sites.

I will be using the model to deploy 5 hackathons in the coming months, to contribute my own content and data, I hope you will get involved too! I look forward to your feedback and hackathon expertise.




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