Thursday, September 30, 2010

PennApps 2010

A very cool thing that happened recently was my team's victory at the PennApps development competition. This was a 48-hour judged hack-a-thon with the goal of "improving the student experience". At the end of the competition, each team gave a 2-minute pitch and product demonstration showcasing their work, to a wide panel of guests and industry representatives.

Our team, consisting of Lauren Frazier, Ryan Gormley, Sam Applebaum, and myself, developed a productivity app that allows students to print documents to our school's networked printers directly from an Android phone. This is very useful for printing the one-off bureacratic forms, homework assignments, and research papers that crop up in student life.

Android's "Intent" notification systems allows us to print documents from anywhere on the phone, including mail, downloads, or filesystem; you don't need to launch a separate application. Because we use existing Linux command-line print functionality under the hood, the user doesn't need any special permissions or drivers to install the application. Use of OpenOffice on the backend allows us to print even Microsoft Office documents, as well as PDF's, images, and web pages.

After our pitch and demonstration, our team won the $2500 Grand Prize. The application is available for free as SEASPrint on the Android market, and the source code is available at SEASPrint under GPLv2.

Below, I embedded a cute little promotional video our team put together:

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