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Announcing the Winners of the App Platform Hackathon on DEV

Posted: February 2, 20213 min read

We recently launched DigitalOcean App Platform, a reimagined Platform as a Service (PaaS) that allows developers to deploy their full stack applications faster than ever. App Platform ties into our mission to enable developers to deploy and scale their sites, business, and apps quickly.

In December, we announced a new hackathon challenge in partnership with the DEV community. The DEV community is filled with amazing developers with a passion for building and creating that is in line with DigitalOcean’s own values.

The Hackathon ran from December 10, 2020 to January 10, 2021 and garnered 245 app submissions and 530 written posts about users building and deploying their apps. Participants were encouraged to submit apps that fit into one of four categories:

  • Personal Site or Portfolio
  • Program for the People
  • Built for Business
  • Random Roulette

One grand prize winner was chosen for each category along with ten runner up winners.

The Winners

The goal of the hackathon was to work with users to show off the power of the new App Platform. Hackathon participants deployed many types of apps including APIs, Databases, and Static Sites.

It was incredibly difficult to judge the submissions. Many were high-quality apps with well written DEV articles and tutorials. What surprised us during this whole process was the creativity of the submissions. Each category had genius solutions to common problems.

Let’s highlight some of the winners:

Personal Site: Portfolio by Abhinav Chawla

View the live app: abhinavchawla-bz8lh.ondigitalocean.app

Abhinav did an amazing job with the animations and visuals for his floating city portfolio. Using Greensock for the animations, he was able to bring this city to life. Clicking on the buildings serves as the navigation. The car moves and follows the streets to open each page.

Built for Business: Guild.so by Tony Lea

The Guild app was chosen because of the robustness and feature completeness of the demo. Many things were created during the hackathon including a dashboard section, authentication, team accounts, and more.

Random Roulette: Potatizer by Alba Silvente

View the live app: potatizer.dawntraoz.com

The potato generator embodied what the Random Roulette category was made for! Lots of fun in the illustrations, animations, and overall creativity. Alba also illustrated all of the potatoes herself.

Program for the People: Mental Health Crisis App by JC Smiley

View the live app: help-client-gc9ge.ondigitalocean.app/home

The Mental Health Crisis App is a great example of how technology can help us on a mental health and emotional level. The app will let users create a set of close family and friends that will be alerted if a user is having a mental health crisis. A person’s close knit group is who can help them the most and this app brings that idea to reality.

Runner Up: Space Themed Site by Ryan Lynch

View the live app: rkahn.dev

This fun portfolio has many interactive features. It makes the site fun to click around and explore.

Runner Up: Emoji Traffic Jam Generator by anabella

View the live app: emoji-jam-rjlxe.ondigitalocean.app

The Emoji Traffic Jam Generator generates a grid of emojis. There is more involved with generating this grid than it looks. Kudos to making a complex coding problem into a clean and fun app.

Chatting with the Winners

The winners got to chat with our CEO, Yancey Spruill, on a Zoom call. Each winner was able to talk about their motivations behind their app and what they aspire to achieve moving forward.

It was a fun time and amazing to see the interaction between the winners. Brainstorming on how they could grow and scale their hackathon winning apps led to aspirations of growing businesses. What was supposed to be a 45 minute meeting went long to one hour!


The overall engagement was encouraging to see. It is impressive that many developers used their holiday breaks to build the apps they’ve wanted to build when normally, the end of the year is a time of slowing down and reflecting. Everyone that joined the hackathon went full steam ahead to finish the year!

Congratulations to everyone that joined the hackathon, winners and all. Even though the hackathon is over, the building never ends. Build the apps that you’ve always wanted to build and rest assured knowing that you can deploy your fullstack, dynamic, static, and any types of apps to DigitalOcean App Platform. Check out some demo apps you can make with App Platform.


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