Windows 8 AppFest – An event to remember forever

A week has passed since Windows 8 AppFest in Bangalore and the memories are still fresh in mind. It was an awesome event and those who had skipped it missed the whole fun big time.  Even though it’s very difficult to express the whole experience in words, I am trying to recollect fun and feelings I had during the 18-hour non-stop coding hackathon with this post so that those who missed will get some idea about the whole event. For those who are wondering what is this whole stuff can read more about it from here.

I was among the first batch that completed the registration process and was first to enter the main hall even before the dry run had started. So I was able to comfortable location from where I can code as well as take snaps of the event and left the hall after that coz the organizers were starting the dry run for the keynote address and inauguration.  So I left my laptop in my seat and used the opportunity to click some people outside.

One thing I noticed about the event conducted by Microsoft is punctuality, if they says the keynote address starts by 11, then you rest assure that it will start on time.  For AppFest,  the opening ceremony was scheduled for 13.30 and I had so much time to kill. So I began to wander around and bumped into many which I had came to know from twitter and blogs and some I know personally like Harish V, who runs Technology Evangelism for Microsoft in India. By this time lot of registrations were happening and crowd was slowly building up and since I had completed the formalities very early, I had to wait outside for a very long time till the registrations are over. Around 11.30 AM, organizers asked us to proceed to the F & B area for having the lunch, and it was a huge tent large enough to accommodate and serve for this record breaking crowd.

By the time I had completed my lunch, the gates to the main hall were open to attendees and the press and I got to my seat without any difficulty.

The event officially started by the hosts for the whole event, Gaurav Kapoor and Roshan Abbas by welcoming us and then they invited Bhaskar Pramanik, President Microsoft India to the stage. He gave us a small introduction to Windows 8 and gave nice speech about how Microsoft is trying to re-imagine windows experience and also in his speech emphasized about the importance of developer ecosystem. After his brief speech he welcomed the Jon DeVaan, Corporate Vice President for Windows Development at Microsoft to the stage to officially kick start the proceedings for the hackathon. He kickstarted the event by ringing the bell that set the coutdown timer rolling for us, the developers.

So after taking some snaps of the celebrities and the devs, I went back to my machine to start my work, which was partially completed before the start of the event. MS had provided a high speed wireless connectivity to all the attendees, but to my horror I found out that my laptop was not getting hooked to that network. For my app, connectivity was a must coz I will be using an API provided by ESPN to display all the major headlines and news from the world of sports. So I immedately approached the proactors present at the venue to help me in solving the issue, but they also find it difficult to resolve it after working on it for some time. Time was running out for me and I needed to make a decision very quickly. So I decided to drop my initial idea for the sports app and decided to go ahead with a note making app.

My idea was to make a simple app, which will have all the basic functionalities like creating, saving and sharing of the notes. Even though the reviewers said to me that it will be very difficult to conceive them on this idea coz there are lot of similar kind of applications which are already available in the store, but I decided to proceeded with it coz I had no other alternative in my mind at that time. In the meantime lot of things were happening in the venue.  Nandan Nilekani and  Walid Abu Hadba, Corporate Vice President, DPE, Microsoft took to the stage to offer their insights and thoughts on the latest happenings, windows 8 and the hackathon itself. The attendees was also entertained by some magicians and to some music by Swarathma band which enthralled each and all at the venue. Time was running fast and it was around midnight I found a free lan cable with internet connectivity at the venue and I quickly grabbed that one so that I can complete the work on my initial idea. I was very confident in completing the app in time for submission coz of the work I had already done for that app.

By 5 ‘ o clock in the morning I was queing up behind  a lot of people at AEL booth to get my app reviewed and had to wait a lot of  time of to get reviewed. The reviewer liked my idea for the app coz at that time there were only a handfull of apps in the store. But he also told to me do some tweaking and then submit it to the store for certification. It was around 7 in the morning when I completed my review and was totally exhausted. When I finally sat down looked around, saw a lot of people totally burn out and was waiting for the counter to tick to zero. When to counter winded down to zero, Bhaskar, Jon, Paul O’Neil from Guinness book all took to the stage to annouce what all we were waiting to here and it was official after a lot of checking and cross checking by authorities about the claim to create the record for most developers gathered under one roof to develop apps. The magic count was 2599 and after the declaration by Paul, the certificate was handed over to Bhaskar and Co by Paul and the whole place was rocking all the way. I was really excited to be a part of a record breaking event and also got a certificate stating that I was also a part of the event that created the record for Most People under one roof developing applications. Wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww….

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