HTML and JavaScript most popular hackathon languages, Android most used platform


Data released by Devpost from more than 13,000 project tags has revealed HTML/CSS to be the most popular programming language students code in at hackathons, followed by JavaScript and Python.

If you’re wondering how an organisation with an unfamiliar name came by such large swathes of data, rest assured: Devpost is the new name for ChallengePost, and the company released the report as part of the rebranding.

Having looked at project tags from a sample of 13,281 student hackers who participated in 160 student hackathons and submitted 9,898 projects, HTML/CSS came out of top for languages, while Android (38.2% of total users) was the most popular platform, ahead of iOS (22.7%) and Windows Phone (4.9%). Java and C/C++ rounded off the top five languages.

The extensive data lists everything from communications APIs – the most popular being Twilio – to text editors (Sublime Text). Facebook was the most widely used social API, Google Maps the most popular geo API, while Spotify took the honours for music APIs. MongoDB was the most popular database according to the data, ahead of MySQL and SQLite, while the most popular platform as a service (PaaS) and infrastructure as a service (IaaS) products combined were Azure, Heroku and Amazon Web Services.

Overall, Devpost argues it is “a little surprising” to see Android push so far ahead of iOS, yet cited its free to publish model as more enticing to students. They argue it was less surprising, however, to see the majority of projects being front-end web or mobile development based, asserting: “With only 24-48 hours at most hackathons, student[s] lean toward API driven web and mobile projects.”

The tags provided by the students also revealed a more humorous side. Coffee and Red Bull were tagged in roughly equal measure, while Devpost wryly notes pizza was more favoured than guacamole; a veiled reference to the peas and guacamole debate in the US which was even picked up by President Obama.

However, the overall message was clear. “The impact of hackathon sponsorship is clear,” Devpost writes. “If you show up and participate, hackers will use your technology."

Bootnote: Just in case you weren’t sure, Devpost put up its definition of hackers as “software developers who are experimenters, tinkerers, and lifelong learners, not the malicious actors responsible for data breaches, theft, and similar unsavoury behaviour.” If that sounds like you, take a look at signing up for a hackathon today.

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