Monster App

By Deane Barker on December 14, 2004

I love these new “timed team event” shows like Monster Garage, Monster House, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. In these shows, a team has to build or convert something in a set time limit, usually five days. There’s usually a lot of drama, yelling, and screaming, but they invariably end up with something beautiful at the end that just blows everyone away.

Why not Monster App? Pick a charity organization that needs a new Web site. We could start the show by sitting at the old Web site and laughing at how inept it is. Then we’d get to work.

We’d have five days to build a complete new Web site incorporating all their requirements (which wouldn’t be allowed to change — ha!). I can see the late nights, the frayed nerves, the screaming matches when the app starts throwing parse errors 10 minutes before the red countdown clock reaches zero…just before we unveil a cool new Web site that just makes everyone realize how wicked awesome we all are.

I think you could make a show out of this. I’d watch it.



  1. Sounds neat on the surface, but estimating time on building an app and doing the same on construction is entirely different. The latter is more fixed in implementation methods, where as the former has many, many ways of accomplishing the same task. If there is one wrong turn down the path to code completion, the end result can be thrown off by weeks and it would not matter how many late nights are put in.

  2. Years ago (maybe 1989 or so) I remember going to a database expo in North Carolina somewhere that also featured a development contest like the one you mention here. It was not web-based, of course, but all done in PC-based database software of the contestants’ choice. The charity was chosen by the organizers who also set up a requirements list. The teams had just two or three days to put together the application. This went on for at least a few years.

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