R/GA wins Best Mobile App at Facebook WorldHack Austin

Yesterday, two of us from R/GA attended the Facebook World Hack in Austin, a day long event where developers come together to spend an entire day hacking and building projects using the latest Facebook technology. Facebook is doing these hacks in 12 cities around the world, and Austin is the only hack happening in the United States. Developers came from several states to Austin City Limits Live to meet each other and spend the day and night seeing what they could build in one day.

Our goal for the day was to spend time digging into Facebook’s newest SDK for iOS, and we built a simple app for iOS that solves a serious problem — what to write on your friend’s wall for his or her birthday. If you’re like me, when you notice it’s someone’s birthday on Facebook, at least 30 other people have already wished them “Happy Birthday.” Or worse, you don’t even realize it’s their birthday until the next day and you forgot to write anything on their Timeline.

Our app helps you with this by providing sample messages and photo templates that allow you to wish your friend a Happy Birthday, or profusely apologize for missing his or birthday.

At the end of a very long day, teams were asked to come up on stage and give demos of their products. You had two minutes to present, enforced by a gigantic countdown clock. It was very stressful. There were 14 different projects and teams presenting, including things like:

- Crowdear – a poll that allowed us to vote on the Facebook apps being presented
- Friend Gifter – a way to choose gifts for your friends -
- PictoGraffiti – an app that allows you to post status updates using only icons

At the end of the presentations, the judges convened and awarded prizes. Our birthday app was given the prize for “Best Mobile App.” Huzzah!

Overall, it was a fun day and a great chance to connect with the local Austin developer community. Some of us even formed an Austin Facebook Developers Meetup group, so stay tuned for details on when that will happen.