Well, this post is about one of the best and a lifetime experience for me – The Windows 8 Appfest – which has set the Guinness World record for

“Most number of participants in a Software development Marathon in one location”

This event was organized by Microsoft at the Karnataka Trade Promotion Organization, Bangalore with over 2500+ developers participating and actively coding continuously for 18 hours starting Friday Sept 21,2012 02:00 PM till Saturday Sept 22,2012 08:00AM.

The event registrations started by 09:00 AM  and flocks of developers from across the country have arrived at the venue, the crowd has a great mix of student communities, professional developers and enterprise designers to build their Windows 8 store app. With a light snacks for the morning, the entrance for the audience was open by around 12:00PM. The arrangements – the seating, the food and beverages, the Xbox consoles for relaxation- were really amazing and kept each and everyone tied up completely with the event for the whole of 24 hours time frame.

The event started with a welcoming note by Bhaskar Pramanik, Chariman Microsoft India, followed by a keynote by Jon Devaan, Sr. Vice President, Windows Development at Microsoft. Jon started the countdown timer for the next 18 hours with a grand knock of the bell. The windows 8 appfest anthem with the theme of “Eat.Drink.Code” was played to mark the beginning of the event. From then, the next 18 hours was full of a coding experience. Food and beverages were available completely through out the event for keeping the participants active. A lot of tech support guys from and outside Microsoft were there to help out everyone with their technical challenges. This event was witnessed by Paul O’Neil, Vice President, Guinness World records and his team to make sure the event complies with all of the rules and regulations to be able to set the record.

I had gone with an idea of a basic app, and when I was almost half way thru, I got to talk to one of the proctors who advised me about changing the design to completely absorb the Windows 8 eco system [yeah that’s what is the key factor to be kept in mind while designing and developing Windows 8 Store apps] and started thinking of new design post the supper. This made me think in a completely new direction and I had to then learn a lot of new things to understand and come up with the design of the application. I am glad that I got that feedback in the initial stage of my development that I was able to think different and redesign. Though I couldn’t complete the application within the stipulated time, I am happy that I got to learn how to and how not to develop Windows 8 Store apps, which according to me is really important.

When the application is 75% ready, one has to register their application to undergo the process of AEL- Application Excellency Lab. This is where, the MS will test the application to see if the developer has leveraged all of the windows 8 design principles and how well he has made use of the Windows 8 eco-system. Testing, design reviews, code reviews were done and once this is cleared, you are all set to upload the application in the Windows Store. There were close to 500+ members [the numbers could be more, I am just giving with what I was aware of] have gone for the AEL during the Appfest and for all those who had cleared it, were given with a free pass to upload their app, a Belkin Battery pack and a T-shirt as goodies.

Most of the participants were completely active thru out the entire 18 hours and were trying their best to complete the app. To help out the crowd relax and ease out during the night, bean bags were available and a lot of us have picked them up, caught a power nap for a few minutes in middle of the night and resumed the coding again. The 18 hours passed by like the blink of the eye and the timer was off by around 08:00 AM the next morning. The announcements for the World record was made by Paul O’Neil post the breakfast and all the participants were given a participant certificate for being part of this wonderful event.

All in all, it was a completely new and a different experience for the fact to see the enthuse among the developers and student communities to participate in a coding marathon and of course for the creative ideas and apps which were show cased there. I was really amused to see the creativity and the passion the people have towards application development and was all happy inside to be part of it. A few of the photos I clicked during the event are available here. I would like to thank Bdotnet community for introducing me to Windows 8, letting me know about this awesome event, and for giving excellent directions during the event for design and development.

The next step is to complete the app which I started there 🙂 Hoping to finish it soon and get myself added to be one among the developers to upload a Windows 8 Store App. Fingers crossed !!!