WebCup Mauritius 2016

May 15, 2016

The Ministry of Technology, Communication and Innovation along with its partners MITIA, OTAM, CCIFM, EDS, BPML, Orange and sponsors Checkout.com, ICT.io, Esokia Web Agency, Prodigious Brand Logistics, Creatair, Leal Communications & Informatics Ltd, LSL Digital and Expat.com, organized this year’s WebCup competition. The 24 hours non-stop coding session started yesterday at noon, at the Cyber Tower I, Ebène Cybercity.

Last night after attending a friend’s birthday party, Shelly and I thought to stop by the Cyber Tower I, wishing good luck to our friends from Stella Telecom. Nayar, Humeira, Haydar and Peter were there participating in the WebCup competition. We called Nayar to ask if they’d like anything to eat as we could bring something from McDonald’s. Fellow geeks already had dinner but milkshake was most welcomed. We ordered four vanilla milkshakes and headed to the Cyber Tower.

We reached there around 22h00. I was surprised to find so many teams, seventeen in total. In fact, there were six teams from universities. I met folks from Stella Telecom and wished them luck & courage for the night.

Stella Telecom at WebCup 2016 Stella Telecom team at the WebCup Mauritius 2016

Today I went back to attend the presentations. The competition ended at noon and presentations were scheduled to start at 13h30. The first team that presented their work was MPower. They had an internet connection issue at the beginning but luckily their time was paused while they fixed it.

Auto-correction on my phone changed MPower to Empower. It’s only while writing this blog post that I noticed it. Nervousness was so visible and somehow the presenter lost time in a slow presentation. After a 24-hours fatigue and being the first team to present does explain the nervousness though. Next team that was called was Tech Killers.

The presenter from Tech Killers surprised me with his relaxed attitude. He was obviously tired too but he managed to keep pace with time and stay focused during the prez. At one question from the jury regarding the technology behind their «live chat» the answer was it’s a subscription from an online service. I felt that the question was misunderstood as it was clear to the jury that it’s an online service, but the jury wanted to know «which online service». The name of the service was not mentioned.

ConXeptia team came up with their work next. They encountered some technical issues with the display.

A jury member asked the presenter how their «live chat» works, as he sent a message but the same wasn’t appearing on the website. The presenter replied that the message needs to be approved by the administrator. I felt like that defeats the purpose of a live chat and it appeared more a commenting feature than live chatting. Jury asked if the message that he sent could be approved so they’d see how it appears on the page. Unfortunately, too much time was lost signing in the WordPress admin panel and the three minutes allocated to jury for questions was over.

The three-member team, Codefish, started on a rough track since the video they wished to show didn’t play. However, the fellow caught up pace very quickly and he skillfully showed the dashboard of «live data» from the International Space Station.

By now I understood that the theme of the competition is to design a website for astronauts on a space station. To be precise it would be called “WebCup Space Station” and the participants need to show live data of the station and possibly also the health status of the astronauts. Live chat would be just cherry on the cake. I missed the opening ceremony yesterday so I did not know much about the theme.

HDM Ltd came up next.

They presented a 3D tour of the space station and a live show of planet Earth as seen from space. The presenter mentioned the site is built on AngularJS and it’s responsive. The jury asked for a mobile view demo.

Left-handed Production started their presentation with a video showing astronauts struggling to fix a technical problem outside their station and right then one astronaut is detached in an accident and she goes… far, far in space. Oops! The website is then presented to give live data of the station’s health status following that accident. The presenter was totally relaxed and he humorously told the jury «sadly» they did not receive any information on the lost doctor when the jury asked whether they have reports on that astronaut.

Velocity was a «girls only» team. In fact, I did notice that there were a lot of coder girls who participated. The ladies from Velocity team encountered the usual display hiccup with their MacBook, then a Windows machine came to rescue. It was great to see Howard Wolowitz from «the big bang theory» as their astronaut. Their overall presentation was good but much time was lost in technical issues and syncing their mouse tracks with the display on the wall. Yes, the Windows machine did not mirror the display.

Astek Nova unveiled their work. They did the usual presentation about photo galleries and other features of the website. Their site also had an online shop that would sell souvenirs from the space station like T-Shirts. I was more hoping to see souvenirs from the space, such as space rocks and dust. :D My bad. They were the first team to showcase an e-commerce platform. They had a bilingual website which was responsive. I’d say if the space station chooses to go multi-lingual then it should not be limited to just English and French as the world is concerned. When the jury asked about their login feature I was surprised to see that a space scientist could log in the admin panel using his/her Facebook credential. The jury also asked them about their «live tracking» feature and the answer was that they used an API they found online that tracks the International Space Station.

MBS Pro was a team of first year students from the MCCI Business School. They showed a sleek chat application on their website. The jury asked them about technologies for their frontend interface.

The good thing about the Invictus presentation was that they continuously explained about the technologies they used, making effective use of time. They could have improved on the pace though.

The Kryptonite seemed a bunch of enthusiastic fellows. Their website composed of only static pages, thus the jury did not ask questions about technologies. It was a quick presentation.

Neodux was another team of university students who presented in just under five minutes. I missed the tweet as I left the hall for a quick coffee break. I skipped lunch, so hungry I was. Coffee saved my life I must say.

My ex-colleagues from Stella Telecom were next in row.

They showed a sleek dashboard displaying the health status of astronauts and technical data from the space station. I liked the idea of using Twitter to communicate with the space station rather than a custom chat hosted. They answered no mobile version exist right now, unless their customer asks for one. It was intended to be humorous.

Digital Minds gave a general overview of their website and demo’ed their live chat.

Their live chat being very simple in design, they said they coded the chat application in the 24 hours but due to time constraints could not finish a proper integration with their site design. Jury asked about their backend and answer was a «work from scratch». They said the video on their homepage was from YouTube.

As Cegid Mauritius started their presentation, the fellow quickly handed the jury a tablet showing the responsive version on their site.

They revealed a concept that gives the visitor the same visual experience as an astronaut inside the space station. Their live chat was kinda fun.

Next to present were Web Minions.

They started by mentioning how they used Bootstrap and gave an overview of their website. The spoke about the XML that they used for a commenting feature.

Last to present were MCCI SIO who came up with their website which they coded from scratch using PHP/MySQL.

They explained the jury about responsiveness of their website and upon questioning on their backend they would answer that they have a MySQL database that is hosted by their school. Aww! That was sweet though.

It took hours for all the seventeen teams to finish their presentations. I hopped to Stella Telecom’s table and was having a chat with folks. Meanwhile the jury were all busy exchanging there views.

The Minister of Technology, Communication and Innovation, Mr Etienne Sinatambou came for the prize giving ceremony which started shortly after 17h00.

WebCup Mauritius 2016 winners

MCCI SIO won the special student prize.

WebCup Mauritius 2016 - MCCI SIO, Student Prize

Web Minions from the University of Mauritius won the «Prix de la Viralité».

WebCup Mauritius, Web Minions

Codefish won the third prize of WebCup Mauritius 2016.

WebCup Mauritius, Codefish team

Tech Killers won the second prize of WebCup Mauritius 2016.

WebCup Mauritius, Tech Killers

The Left-Handed Production from PongoSoft Game won the WebCup Mauritius 2016 competition. Congratulations to the team! (Update: Following Vincent’s comment clearing the confusion on PongoSoft and ICT.io I corrected this short paragraph.)

WebCup Mauritius, Left-handed Production

WebCup Mauritius 2016 also featured on lexpress.mu.

Update - 16 May 2016

After the Left-handed Production team won the first prize, I tweeted & congratulated ICT.io. Meanwhile other people in the hall were in a confusion as many thought that’s a sponsor team. Well, not exactly, though I got confused too as I saw familiar faces in the team. The Left-handed Production team was composed of a bunch of friends who work for PongoSoft and Bijem. The team was composed of members Avishek (team captain), Danajee, Aurélien and Clément. They participated independently and not funded by either PongoSoft or Begem. I can understand the geek enthusiasm when there is a competition around and friends decide to jump in. I can totally relate to that. So, once again, kudos to the team.

Photo courtesy, Sun Ramgolam.