coding, graphics, mobile, ui, web design, web development

Winning Hackcess to Justice (NC)

It was a pleasure to meet Raleigh attorney Caroline DiMaio this weekend and to advance her vision of an app to help inform migrant workers of their legal rights.

Our creation placed first out of five entries at the Raleigh edition of Hackcess to Justice, a hackathon presented by the ABA Journal and the N.C. Bar Association.  The competition was held at Campbell Law School and sponsored by Citrix ShareFile, Lawyers Mutual, and Poyner Spruill, LLP.

(It’s kind of a small world: I learned of this hackathon from Matthew Wilcut, a legal-aid attorney (and developer!) I met at a Startup Weekend competition in Greensboro a few years ago.)

Press Coverage

“App to aid migrant workers wins 3rd Hackcess to Justice hackathon” (ABA Journal)

“Code of law: ‘Hackathon’ gives birth to ideas for bridging the justice gap” (N.C. Lawyers’ Weekly) (Subscription Required)

Official Contest Site

Learn more about the competition, including the esteemed panel of judges, the judging criteria, and other entries at the official site:

Hackess to Justice (NC) on Devpost

(As a developer with a long history in and around the legal profession, I was impressed by each of the other entries – I could see any of them in production!)


We developed our entry using rapid prototyping techniques and the Bootstrap JavaScript/CSS framework.

Screencap of NC Farmworkers' App (Interactive Prototype)
Screencap of NC Farmworkers’ App (Interactive Prototype)

coding, web development

Hello, World!

Is there a better first statement than “Hello, World!”?

It carries the same powerful message as “Greetings, Planet! I’m here. Deal with it!” in a compact, pithy package.

Many programming students wrote “Hello World” as their first output.  (The original such use is widely attributed to Brian Kernighan of Bell Labs.)

Ways to Say It

The syntax required to produce “Hello World!” gives you a flavor of the language.

In Java one would type the following:

class HelloWorldApp {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        System.out.println("Hello World!");

In JavaScript, one would code the following:

document.write('Hello, World!');

A PHP programmer’s first line is typically something like this:

echo "Hello, world!";

This syntax hints that it’s a lot easier to get up and running in JavaScript or PHP than in Java (The further implications of that suggest a subject for another day).

It’s fairly easy to get started with WordPress — the platform does the actual coding for you.

Ways to Say It, Part 2

But what is in between the quotes?  Doesn’t that say something about the programmer’s (human) language?

Shouldn’t there be a comma in “Hello World”?  In English, commas are used to set off words of direct address, and you’re directly addressing the World.  Speaking of which, “World” should be capitalized – you’re not addressing any world, you’re addressing THE World — by name!  And an exclamation point, for that matter — First impressions count – don’t you want to be seen as enthusiastic about your very first output!

So, “Hello to you, World — hello!”