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JetBrains 9th Annual Hackathon

Failure is not fatal, but innovation is forever.

The Hackathon spirit is a difficult thing to capture in words. For some, it is a call to adventure – a call to try something new. For others, it is a challenge to push the limits of their field. There are no right or wrong answers to what a Hackathon is at JetBrains. What these experiments lead to, though, is always exciting. The Hackathon is a platform for innovation, where there are no constraints on creation. What we produce during these 48 hours can take JetBrains in totally new directions or help people learn completely new things that they can take with them into their careers. And so with this, we are delighted to report the results of our ninth annual JetBrains Hackathon.

The Hackathon in numbers:

  1. 5 minutes to present
  2. 10 prize categories
  3. 36 judges
  4. 48 hours to complete
  5. 63 projects finished
  6. 70 projects started
  7. 91 project ideas
  8. 200 voters
  9. 226 participants
  10. 23,000 dollars in prizes

Graduate projects

Each year there is an award given for “Most Actively Used”. The 48 hours of the Hackathon are merely the beginning for a lot of projects. They can then be taken on as LABS where they are developed further to see whether their potential can be realized. Here are some noteworthy entries from previous years that have gone on to be developed through our LABS:

Grazie

Grazie provides intelligent spelling and grammar checks for the text that you write in your IDE. This project has seen incredible success and is still being actively developed in lots of directions related to natural languages. It was inspired by the Suite of Sweet Writing Hackathon project. The idea was taken further and developed by a team of passionate JetBrainers through our LABS program. Today it inspires its own Hackathon projects, such as this year’s Grazie Semantic Cards project. It comes bundled in JetBrains IDEs and it has its own Chrome Extension, too. Try it out if you haven’t already!

Toolbox App

The Toolbox App originally began as a Hackathon project. It has now been developed into an incredibly useful tool with over 1 million users. It is a single access point for JetBrains tools that helps users easily update their tools to the latest builds. This tool is being actively developed, with lots of cool features in the works. If you have not installed it yet, we really recommend you do. It will make your whole tool and project experience much nicer.

Space Pages

Space Pages is another project that was born from a Hackathon. It is now an important feature inside the latest JetBrains product, Space. It has been used extensively in the product since, and the value from this Hackathon project continues to provide value. JetBrains Space is a powerful product that helps teams collaborate and work effectively. It also serves as the inspiration for future Hackathon projects, as there are countless ways to develop it further.

The winner of this year’s Most Actively Used project:

Awesome Meeting Facilitator

With a lot of our work going remote these last few years, connecting through virtual meetings has become the norm. This project has won the hearts and minds of many JetBrainers, as it has made ad hoc communication simpler with its shortcuts for quickly creating meetings in Google Meet.

Hackathon 9

This year’s Hackathon was awash with new ideas and innovative solutions. The winners were decided by a jury of our peers, who judged projects in a broad spectrum of categories. 

This year participants could enter their projects into the following categories:

New Tech Stack

– Your project aims to introduce a new technology or an innovative approach to doing typical things. Many new innovations have come from our Hackathons. This category is for rewarding projects that expand our boundaries with new tech.

The winner:

IDEA Embedded Hardware Keys

This project adds support for Apple SecureEnclave and TMP keys for IntelliJ IDEA SSH and GPG sign. Manage your SSH keys directly in IntelliJ IDEA and store them securely in T2/TPM2.

Tooling

– You are developing a tool, either physical or software, to help people address a particular problem. Most of the products at JetBrains started out as attempts to solve problems we ourselves were facing. This category is to reward those innovative solutions.

The winner:

Flora Micro Plugins in JavaScript for the IntelliJ Platform 

The IDEs have just been enhanced with project-level single-file plugins. There will never be the problem of missing functionality again. Now if you are missing something in your IDE, you can create it in JavaScript. Flora plugin is available for download on Marketplace.

Home Office

– Your project aims to improve the experience of working from home. Home office has been a reality for much of the world these past years, and it has led to a new revolution in how many people work. At JetBrains, we try to support people with the demands of home office. This category is to reward projects that take on this challenge.

The winner:

Sort the Meet

A Chrome extension that puts the participants of Google Meet in alphabetical order. This can help in standup meetings and in any context where a round table discussion is called for, as participants are in the same order for everyone.

Office Life

– Your project aims to improve our work environment or make the office more comfortable and usable. As the world slowly adapts to a new way of working, the office still offers a beacon of normalcy for many of us returning to it. This category is to reward the projects that promote the return of the coffee machine chats.

The winner:

The Gazeta

Lots of work goes into preparing our weekly newsletter at JetBrains. This project provides a new way to gather data and prepare it for publishing, and it even adds a bit of visual flair.

Tangible

– You are planning to create something physical and tangible. Though a lot of what we do is software, a surprising number of hardware and physical contraptions are made behind the scenes. In our offices, we have bespoke solutions designed and engineered ourselves. This category celebrates hands-on artisans.

The winner:

CyberJacksonPollock

Our Museum of the Future team got to work using the technologies of the future to create futuristic art! Using a web UI, users can manipulate a robotic arm to create abstract art

Entertainment / Socializing

– Your project aims to improve communication, help people socialize, or entertain them in some way. Bringing people together and having fun is close to a lot of JetBrainers’ hearts. This category celebrates the projects that do this.  

The winner:

Productivity Guide Goes Social

IntelliJ IDEA has a Productivity Guide that makes it possible to track the usage of some of the IDEs’ features. This project aims to promote this hidden gem by making the statistics and insights from it shareable achievements for all your social media platforms. You can download this plugin here.

Business Value

– This special category honors projects that bring business value.

The winner:

Pavlovian: Classical Conditioning in Space 

This tool gives users the ability to create custom workflows that can run in Space. It is kind of similar to classical Pavlovian conditioning with stimuli (Space subscription events) and responses (API Playground).

Best Presentation

– There are projects that put a lot of effort into their presentations, and this category celebrates their efforts.

The winner:

“Hello, World” Podcast

A podcast with guests from various teams inside JetBrains, so people from different parts of the company can learn more about each other.

Overall winner

This is the most prestigious award a team can achieve, and the winning project is immortalized with its name etched on the JetBrains Hackathon Trophy Cup. There can be only one, and this year the project that won the hearts and minds of JetBrainers was…

Sonic Logo: The Sound of JetBrains 

Brand Differentiation & Recognition Through Sound

A sonic logo is the audible version of a visual logo. It shrinks the brand’s identity into a brief sequence of notes so that people can easily identify those sounds with the brand. The team set out to hear JetBrains through color using the Brand Identity Guidelines as their starting point, and in the process they created a scalable framework using base chords.

We are driven by innovation. What we create during our Hackathons is just the tip of the iceberg and these projects can lead us in lots of different, exciting new directions. We hope you enjoyed reading about what the teams have created this year and it has inspired you to create. Until next year! Take care.

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