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I am not sure weather it is a proper question to ask out here but it is really bothering for a while. As the official website writes:

The Rails Rumble is a distributed programming competition where teams of one to four people, from all over the world, have 48 hours to build an innovative web application, with Ruby on Rails or another Rack-based Ruby web framework. After the 48 hours are up, a panel of expert judges will pick the top ten winners.

One thing I don't get is how judges make sure that the app was made in the given time constraint. The quality of apps is so magnificent that I am really skeptical that such elegant apps could be made within 48hrs, even if you have planned it straight out on paper.

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From other such 48 hour competitions I know that preparation is not only allowed, but necessary. However, you cannot prepare anything in detail, because normally the subject/topic of the competition is revealed only once it begins.

This means that you can prepare some general parts in advance, which you will most likely be able to adapt to any given scenario. An inherent problem with such competitions is that there is no way to enforce the limit on the number of participants per team. If there's a team with a whole gfx/design crew behind them they could still submit as a 4 person team and you'll never really know.

Another point though is that in all team competitions experience and dedicated roles increase efficiency a lot. If everyone knows everyone's roles and you can thus keep down the communication complexity, then each person can work extremely efficient without too many interruptions. You shouldn't confuse this kind of efficiency with a normal workplace situation though. The small team, the small time-frame, the freedom in the competition rules, the extreme focusing, etc are all reasons why such a team can seemingly outperform normal workplace teams by several magnitudes. (Seemingly, because a lot of the work you have to perform in workplace conditions is left out for competitions - testing, requirements analysis/management, configuration management, reporting, ...)

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Yeah, but this particular competition didn't seem to have any theme thing associated with it. If a team could design such apps in 48hrs, then seriously I think I really lag behind in such Extreme Programmers. :) –  Shubham Dec 21 '12 at 4:01

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