Last day to vote for homegrown ‘Jackalope’ in Node Knockout competition

Whether it be against themselves or within their peer groups, programmers live for a good challenge. And the competition du juor is Node Knockout: a 48-hour hackathon (inspired by last years Ruby Rumble) organized and promoted by fortnight labs.

Starting last Friday at midnight (UTC) through Sunday at midnight, over 200 different teams of 1-4 people went heads down for the weekend to build the coolest web app using node.js,  an evented I/O framework for the V8 JavaScript engine with the purpose of providing an easy way to build scalable network programs.

Representing Minnesota in this battle for the best is a foursome led by Andy Atkinson who recruited complimentary talent including designer Nate Kadlac and developers Paul Armstrong and Zachary Johnson for the event.

“We wanted to leverage the asynchronous nature of node in the real-time sense,”  says Kadlac talking about the genesis of their entry.  “We considered emergency and geolocation, but settled on a form of web stats since it was something we felt personally connected to.”

And literally three minutes before the submission deadline on Sunday night, Jackalope was officially born. From the demo site, here’s the essence of the application this distributed quartet created in just under 48 hours via Skype, iChat and Basecamp/Campfire:

“Every movement you make with your mouse is instantly transferred back through our Node.js server to the admin page using Web Sockets, generating a heatmap in real-time for the admin to view!

Every person mousing over the page will have their data sent back and compiled together with others, allowing you instantly see what areas of your page draw the most attention.”

And a nifty screencast demo:

Public voting (50% weighted) ends tonight at midnight with Jackalope currently floating around the number 10 spot (again, out of over 200) at time of publishing. If you haven’t already done so, take a moment to show some love for these spontaneous innovators — voting ends at 7pm CST.