Hackdays: Playgrounds for the Imagination

July 22, 2011

One of the best things about working as an engineer at LinkedIn is the monthly hackdays. They are an amazing opportunity - a time I can set aside to let myself imagine the possible, to think about what people might want to do, play with, or learn. I get to think of better ways to accomplish the things that frustrate me, or to share things I love with other people. Today, I'll tell you about LinkedIn's internal hackdays, our Silicon Valley-wide Intern Hackday, our participation in the API Hackday PDX at OSCON, and how to get your hacks up and running quickly with the LinkedIn API's.

Internal Hackdays

Individuals and teams of LinkedIn employees take the day (and sometimes the weekend afterwards) to create mockups, prototypes, and sometimes complete, working applications to demonstrate the ideas bouncing around in their head. Our company benefits by getting tons of new ideas, and our engineers benefit because… well, because play is fun, and this is play. And we get to present our ideas to the executive team, earn Apple gift cards for our efforts, and even deploy our hacks on LinkedIn Labs.

A few of the hacks on LinkedIn Labs

A few of the hacks on LinkedIn Labs

Open hackday

Not wanting to keep all this fun to ourselves, on July 29, LinkedIn will be hosting our first ever Silicon Valley-wide Intern Hackday. Engineering interns around the Bay Area will gather at our Mountain View headquarters and battle head to head for 24 hours to see which schools’ interns will reign supreme. We’re offering cool prizes, free food, and the opportunity to collaborate with a bunch of other inspired and inspirational interns for 24 hours.

Intern hackday

API Hackday PDX

But that’s not all! The open source developers among you know that OSCON is coming up at the end of the month, and Jeremy Johnstone and I will be there all week talking to developers and helping them get started with the LinkedIn platform. We’ve just teamed up with Mashery, Urban Airship, and a host of other fantastic companies to help put together the API Hackday PDX on Saturday, July 30. I’ll be there to give a presentation on our APIs and help people with LinkedIn platform questions, and LinkedIn is going to give three $100 Apple Gift Cards to the best applications using our platform – whether it be brand new applications, multi-platform mashups, or integrations into existing systems. Come show us what you’ve got, get some LinkedIn shwag, learn about our platform and win some Apple dough!

Get started!

If you want to get a jump on the competition, head over to our Developer Portal and start playing with our APIs. We’ve got a Javascript API and a REST API, along with some plugins you can use for quick integrations. We’ve got cool tutorials, documentation, and a very active community in our forums.

If you want to get rolling with the JavaScript API in a hurry, here is the 3 step walkthrough:

Step 1: get an API key (and make sure to read the section on domain names).

Step 2: add in.js to your webpage

Step 3: add IN/Login to your webpage

And that's it! Load up the page in your browser and you should see a "Sign in with LinkedIn" button. Here is the full code sample for reference:

Finally, here are some links to more code walkthroughs you might find helpful: