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TranSMART hackathon in Montpellier, France

March 28, 2014 | By Tim Dorscheidt

Montpellier is a gorgeous city. And luckily for us, also the place where the hackathon with Sanofi was to be held to finalize an array of improvements we added to tranSMART. The Hyve sent a team of developers and testers to France to wrap up this major project. Our goal was to remove some final bugs, improve and add several features, and to handover the project.

It was a true hackathon. After a small startup phase, coding started right away. By having developers in the same room as testers and end-user representatives, iterations of development could be quick. A first ‘hack’ for a feature made clear what was both needed and possible, after which several more iterations would get it right. Coded formulas could be verified on the spot, data needs could be sketched and shown, and the plotting of images could be handcrafted by actually pointing on the developer's screen. It is amazing how simply being in the same room can bring about so many advantages.

After three intensive hackathon days, we were all proud of what we had achieved. Along the way, I got to know some amazing people that understand what tranSMART can do for the bioinformatics community and we all contributed to its future. I will remember Montpellier fondly, and not just for its good food and the city's beautiful historical heart.