I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank the Force.com community for the great turnout on the Veterans Day Hackathon. I know I had a great time participating and hope that LinkedIn will repeat the event next year.  As Cloudspokes Evangelist (and author of the great Chow Finder finalist entry) Jeff Douglas noted, Force.com apps accounted for 20% of the finalists.  Maybe because it’s such a great platform for easily and rapidly developing modern applications?  I dunno …. could be….

Personally, I entered BlueConverter, a Sites implementation designed to allow veterans to upload their Blue Button data to view it in different formats and query against WebMD and Google with it.  Blue Button data is this brilliant concept of allowing veterans to download their medical history in user friendly ASCII and PDF formats.  BlueConverter attempts to take the ASCII and convert it to HTML, JSON and XML.  It’s a bit hacky, I’m going to admit – but it was in the spirit of hacking something together for the event.  I’d like to split it into two distinct projects, an online “viewer” for veterans to use to access their Blue Button data in a web friendly way, and also utility conversion code for multiple languages.  We’ll see how time permits, maybe next year?  It made it to the finals – Tim O’Reilly was one of the judges and noted it on twittter, and the feedback I got from LinkedIn is that there’s a demand for this kind of thing.

The CloudSpokes folks had a great turnout for the event, and a huge thanks to them for setting up their own incentives and tapping their community to take part in it.  Big nod to Veterans Job Search, built using Force.com Sites and Heroku as well as fellow finalist Chow Finder, written using jQuery, Ruby, Heroku and Database.com.  Here’s Chow Finder in action:

So keep an eye out next year, and maybe LinkedIn and Force.com can help you help out veterans (as well as possibly get you some sweet prizes…)

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