Web Rumble ’09

I had a [crazy] idea. I have no way of making it happen, but maybe someone else could (maybe codebetter?).

The idea is inspired by the very cool annual Rails Rumble. From the RailsRumble 2009 website:

The Rails Rumble is a 48 hour web application development competition. As a contestant, your team gets one weekend to design, develop, and deploy the best web property that you can, using the awesome power of Ruby and Rails.

My variation is to pit teams of super-developers from different technologies against each other. Think of it:  Scott Guthrie and Phil Haack vs David Heinemeier Hansson and Jeremy Kemper vs the team at the Lawrence Journal-World vs a facebook or digg team (for PHP). Prize money could go to a charity of the winning team’s choice.

What are the benefits?

  • It helps promote each framework,
  • It helps each team learn more about their competition (where they are weak, where they are strong),
  • It makes new frameworks more accessible to developers

What are the challenges?

  • Keeping it light and fun
  • Getting the super-stars involved
  • Making it fair

What do you guys think?

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19 Responses to Web Rumble ’09

  1. That sounds like a fantastic idea as long as the code for the property is made open source so we can see under the covers!

  2. Tim Scott says:

    Awesome idea. Suggestions:

    1) Maybe we could recruit an all star judges panel. Martin Fowler and Uncle Bob come to mind

    2) Criteria must not be limited to features, style, performance and other outwardly visible things. It must include code maintainability. IMHO, the #1 problem in out industry is that clients hold us to account only for outwardly observable things. Only much later do they gradually realize they are owners of an unmaintainable pile of crap. Clean code and maintainablity should count for 30% – 50%.

    3) (ASP Webforms + Ajax Control Toolkit) should be one team and (ASP MVC + JQuery) should be another. Surely there are plenty of Webforms savants eager to prove it’s superiority.

  3. That’s a really great idea. I would really like to see that happen.

  4. Konstantin says:

    That would be awesome!

  5. Simon says:

    You could sell tickets for this kind of thing. Forget the Olympics or the World Cup… bring on Web Rumble.

    I’d say contestants should be free to use anything in their toolbox / arsenal of tricks. Not all cars in the Formula 1 are equal and the point is to see which team and driver is the best, so let the frameworks and the experts battle it out for the ultimate honour… our respect!

  6. David says:

    All apps should be built around a theme/topic/idea that is only revealed at the start of the weekend to prevent any sneaky pre-preparation ; )

  7. Nordes says:

    Awsome idea :)

  8. SCott says:

    So you need some kind of time equalizer. Like maybe the .NET devs can use quad-core machines while the rails/django devs have to use Pentium 3’s or something. Otherwise the rails/django people will get bored waiting for the .NET devs to restart Visual Studio and compile.

  9. karl says:

    Thanks for the feedback. I’m looking and talking to people about trying to make this a reality. Keeping in mind that everything is wide open and this is miles away from happening:

    -The RailsRumble rules seem very fair (re: existing frameworks, libraries and such)

    -I don’t think X vs Y vs Z is the best way to approach this. I think we drop the “winner” (we could have polls for people’s favorite), and equally split the prize money between all 4 teams charity of choice. So this would be more of a fun event than a competition.

    I’ve started to look at sponsorship possibilities. I’m hoping that with a charity prize of around $10K (2.5k each), it’ll be easier to approach these very busy people with the idea.

  10. webdev_hb says:

    Sounds like a great idea – Does the framework need to be developed from scratch over that weekend? Or can existing projects be used?

  11. Matt Briggs says:

    Making it fair would basically mean DHH typing with one hand or something. You can have a functional skeleton of a rails site up in about the same amount of time that it takes visual studio to launch.

  12. Excellent idea!!

  13. nap says:

    Hey Karl, nap from the Rails Rumble organizers team here. We’re planning a more technology-agnostic event in the near future. I don’t think it’s quite what you describe though; in that it wouldn’t be a face-off between technologies but rather a general competition, in which choice of tooling just isn’t as important.

    I’m a big believer in the idea that the best tool is the one that best fits your own mind map. For me, that’s Rails. And the Rumble exists to help promote that within the community. But there’s plenty of room for differing opinions too, and I think a general tech-agnostic “startup in a weekend” event is a great idea too. The end product should be judged based on its merits from an “Average Joe” pov, not based on the trollishness of its community.

    (and I’m not even going to address the comment about .net developers being less fanboy-like, lols)

  14. Simone says:

    @David: yes.. probably picking the winner is not important…
    anyway, if we do a voting by hashtag or poll, the voting will be based on the number of ppl that vote: the members of each community is going to vote for its representative, so if you get more PHP devs to vote, then the PHP team will win.. and so on
    And furthermore, give the fact that .NET developers are less fanboy-like than other communities, they might even vote for other technologies… so ASP.NET will never win :)

  15. David Alpert says:

    I don’t even think that picking the winner is so important. At the heart of this competition is an excellent opportunity to show off the strengths and challenges of each framework wrt the others.

    Heck, if you need a winner, throw it open on twitter, vote with a hashtag, write a quick app to scan the feed and compile the results. In fact, I think that app already exists…

  16. ilivewithian says:

    It’s a brilliant idea, if you can get it to work it would be a really interesting competition.

  17. Simone says:

    Seems like a great idea… but how will you (or anyone else) decide who is the winner?

  18. That’s an AWESOME idea. Let’s make it happen!

  19. J.R. Garcia says:

    I think that’s a great idea. I do agree that getting the so-called “superstars” involved would be hard. I also think you would be hard-pressed to have everyone agree on “superstar” status, but I guess that goes the same with any “superstar”-related challenge. I’d be interested to see this for sure!