Notes from Node Knockout History


These are my notes from Visnu Pitiyanuvath's background of Node Knockout on July 2, 2012 at NodeConf. Slides here: and you can follow Visnu at @visnup on twitter.

We built Gentrify during a Rails Rumble hackathon and got written up in Venturebeat and got a concerned email from Yelp after we downloaded their entire Places database through their API, and we lost to We loved the hackathon experience and we tried again the next year with a website called Lazeroids, which is massively multiplayer HTML5 asteroid game. We did this with Rails... somehow. We used XHR long-polling, and a Python twisted package called Orbited.

There were also 1185 lines of JavaScript and about 12 lines of Ruby. We won the innovation prize that year, for not using Ruby. That jazzed us. But those 12 lines were kind of janky, so in 2009 when node hit the scene, we decided to rewrite Lazeroids in node to play with it, using websockets and 100% JavaScript all the way through. It was a lot of fun to rewrite that game and it just felt right!

Now we had a dilemma; entering node apps in Rails Rumble didn't really make sense. We decided we wanted to try to put on our own hackathon, but an interesting thing happens when you name things. They take on a new form and you can think about them better. Jared's wife at the time was like, "Hey, I know what you guys should call that hackathon, Node Knockout!"

Our first Node Knockout used node v0.1, which was very painful! Even v0.2.4 had no package.json. We had 100 entries and sponsored by Palm, Sencha, Yahoo, CouchDB, 10gen, Smule, JSConf, npm, and great judges including Brendan Eich, John Resig, and others.

The 2010 winners include Swarmation, Bladderblock, Wrath, Giant Robots, Searrano, Gabber, and You see a lot of multiplayer apps here. In 2011 you see a number of real-time apps also. We feel like we're doing something new.

In 2012 we're doing it again, Nov 10-12 GMT time. Registration is open soon, and you can follow @node_knockout on twitter.

Changes for this year -- we're probably not going to do prizes. Come talk to me if you disagree! Nodejitsu only: you're going to deploy only on nodejitsu this year. We're going to be in the Joyent HQ offices.

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