As you will have noticed on the registration forms, we encourage you to create an application (or a website) and submit the link where you have hosted your application. If you do not know how to start, the following links will hopefully help you create an application or a website very quickly. There are tutorials for almost all programming levels, so give it a try, even if you have never coded in your life !
If you have any questions, please check out code.google.com, where you can help each other out and where Google engineers will also answer questions.
Don't forget to add the link to your best creation in the registration form for the Google day you'd like to attend. And remember, the most original and technical applications will draw our attention even more !
Don't worry if you have never coded in your life ! For one, it's never too late to get started. And there are many Google products and services that do not require any prior coding experience but still allow you to create an application or a great website for free. If you require help or ideas, ask questions to fellow developers on our support forum. Here are some suggestions of the things you can create :
Create and host a site with Google Sites
Give a look at this page and in particular the embedded video to explain how you can get started. You can use one of the ready-made templates available here, giving you ideas of what kind of websites you can create (family, company, club, etc.). There are many video tutorials on YouTube as well ; this one and this second video (not created by Google) seem helpful in guiding you step by step, from choosing the name of your site to editing the pages.
You can create great-looking sites with Google Sites such as this Irish club's, this company's site, or even this one created by the US Department of Treasury. The very site you are on right now was created using Google Sites - you'll notice how we integrated a Google forum, embedded Google Moderator pages and added a Google Form.
Once you've created a site (which is entirely free), you automatically get a URL (also for free) which looks like http://sites.google.com/sites/SOMETHING : this is the link that you'll want to submit in the registration form.
Create a Google Chrome extension
Google Chrome is Google's browser, based on the open source Chromium project. One of the cool things about Chrome is the possibility to add extensions and themes which enhance the experience for users. With extensions, you can for instance display the number of unread Gmail messages you have and open Gmail in one click.
You can create your own extensions too. Give a look at the Getting started tutorial which shows you how to create a simple extension in literally 5 minutes. These two YouTube videos will give you some useful tips as well - and there are many more useful videos showing how you can create extensions step by step.
How to host your Google Chrome extension
You can publish your extension in the Chrome extensions gallery. A one-time fee of $5 is required. If you prefer not to pay anything and still submit your extension as part of the event registration, you can simply zip the files, upload the zip file to Google Docs (which allows to host 1 gigabyte of data for free), and share the zip file with firstname.lastname@example.org. In both cases, don't forget to the add the link in the registration form to your extension located in the gallery or to your zip file !
Create an iGoogle gadget (novice to intermediate level)
You can host your gadget using the Google Gadget Editor : remember to click on File > Save As, to publish (File > Publish) your gadget and submit the link to the registration form. If you're already hosting your gadget on your server, you can directly submit your gadget to Google - don't forget to submit the link in the registration form.
Use Google APIs (novice to intermediate level - for Java, Python, PHP programmers)
Google offers a wide range of free APIs, which can be accessed easily, whether you're a Java, Python or PHP programmer. For instance, you can create a map automatically displaying the apartments to let in your area using the Google Maps API. Take a look at the many examples : you can view the source code of each HTML file to get inspiration from. Another nice combination would be to use the Google Sites API and the Google Spreadsheets API at the same time to create a website almost automatically based on the content in the cells of a spreadsheet.
You can host your application or website for free on App Engine (see section below on App Engine) or search for free hosts (you should find some that allow you to code using your preferred language and still test some of Google's APIs). In both cases, don't forget to the add the link to your website in the registration form to your application or website.
Create an Android application (intermediate to advanced level - for Java programmers)
Android is Google's open source platform. Millions of users across the globe are now using a phone running on Android.
You can create your own Android application. Give a look at this video giving a first hands-on look at Android, and also at this long video providing step-by-step instructions (not a Google video and the audio track is unfortunately not good).
If you're not comfortable using Java or would like to test an alternate, simpler approach to programming on Android, give a try at Android App Inventor and read through some of the tutorials.
You can then publish your application in the Android Marketplace. A one-time fee of $25 is required. If you prefer not to pay anything and still submit your application as part of the event registration, you can simply zip the files, upload the zip file to Google Docs (which allows to host 1 gigabyte of data for free), and share the zip file with email@example.com. In both cases, don't forget to the add the link in the registration form to your application located in the marketplace or to your zip file !
Create and host an application on App Engine (intermediate to advanced level - for Java and Python programmers)
App Engine enables you to build and host web apps on the same systems that power Google applications. App Engine offers fast development and deployment ; simple administration, with no need to worry about hardware, patches or backups ; and effortless scalability. App Engine costs nothing to get started. All applications can use up to 500 MB of storage and enough CPU and bandwidth to support an efficient app serving around 5 million page views a month, absolutely free.
Whether you are proficient in Java or Python, there are a number of online resources which allow you to get started very quickly. Give a look at the 'Hello world' example if it's the first time you're using App Engine : you should be able to deploy your first application in a matter of minutes once you've set up the development environment (in short, this only consists in installing the SDK on your computer). You can even be guided step by step if you watch this video or this one.
The next step would be to take a look at the complete code samples, ranging from a guestbook to a task log : try customising and hosting one of those applications on your free App Engine account. Then, think how you could tweak the application and try creating something original or useful. Once you're all set, you can send us the link to your application in the registration form.
If you really want to get a lot of consideration, try creating an application that uses one or more APIs, that runs on App Engine and which interacts with Android. Here is an inspiring example recently created by a small business in the UK in less than a week, without any prior Python knowledge ! If you have similar stories to share, be sure to contact us !