The enthusiasm and excitement is immediately obvious as one walks through the door at the InnoSpring hackathon in Santa Clara in Silicon Valley. A weekend event with around 90 programmers who are competing for price money and the status that comes with writing a really cool app.
Laptops, open source, power strips, soft drinks and paper plates filled with food crowd the tables as the teams get ready to start coding.
They have from Friday night to Sunday afternoon; to write something that captures the imagination and that may help to propel them into the limelight not just in Silicon Valley but beyond.
Not much sleep for next two nights, but the key is not really to stay awake but to use the right tools. A quick and informal survey shows that Python, Node.js and Ruby are in the lead, followed by Java.
I smile, because the programmers have just described IBM's Bluemix, the Platform as a Service environment that is the reason for why I am here, to talk about Bluemix and how you can quickly develop apps in a variety of open source languages and then add open source and enterprise services with the click of a mouse.
What makes the conversation so interesting is that we speak the same language. There is nothing proprietary about Bluemix, nothing that a typical programmer in a Silicon Valley startup company doesn't already know. Bluemix is all about Open Source, Agile, DevOps and creating cool apps in the cloud.
They aren't shy, the programmers; the questions come hard and fast: Do you have node.js? Yes sure. Ok cool and what about NoSQL databases? I mention Cloudant and MongoDB. Whoa great.
The kids are interested in Big Data and Analytics and I mentioned IBM Analytics for Hadoop. What about Mobile? And we pour over the Bluemix mobile services.
The lesson I take back from the InnoSpring hackathon is how well Bluemix fits in with this kind of environment. Bluemix doesn't mean that you don't have to code, and the programmers here know that already, they aren’t naive. But it makes coding easier; you don't have to start from scratch. And being able to deploy directly into the cloud is a great plus.
Several of the kids sign up for Bluemix right then and there and promise to come to the IBM Innovation Center for our next Bluemix class on Wednesday.
IBM is often equated with "enterprise", big solutions and long product cycles. But with Bluemix, IBM moves smack into the Agile, open source, DevOps and rapid development world, which is the hallmark of today’s IT-industry.
Bluemix is also becoming a platform for the very latest technologies, such as Internet of Things, Wearables, Gamification, Mobile, Analytics and Big Data. A way to quickly creates cool apps and deploy them in the cloud.
A programming environment that fits perfectly in with the Silicon Valley culture.