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Windows Azure Developer Challenge

This competition has ended

Discover the Cloud.

Try Windows Azure and our 5 programming challenges for a chance at spot prizes, Stage prizes and the Grand Prize.

Over $16,000 in prizes total are up for grabs with 65 chances to win. Find your silver lining in the cloud.

How do I enter?

Challenge 1 starts April 15th, 2013.

Note that start days start at 12AM and end dates end at 11:59PM. All times are US Eastern (Daylight Saving Time)

What is the Challenge?

The challenge is actually 5 Challenges, each two weeks long, that when combined will result in an a web application hosted on Azure that uses Azure data services, virtual machines and provides a great mobile experience. Everything a modern cloud based application needs.

As to what the application does - that's up to you. Be creative. Weave a story. Write something interesting, all the while writing about it in an article. You also choose how much or how little you write in your article. If you want to keep your cards close to your chest until the end then that's up to you. However, stage prizes will be judged on the current state of your article so you'll need to keep a balance.

Late Entrants: If you missed out on any one of the challenges then you can jump in at any time as long as you complete the stages you missed.

1. First Challenge: Getting Started. April 15 - April 28 May 3

The first challenge is a gimme. You need to setup a free trial Azure account (super easy) and post an article on CodeProject (in the Windows Azure Contest section) outlining your idea on what you'll build for the remaining stages. Most important: in 2 sentences or less explain how Azure might benefit or change the way you do things today. You can keep your article brief if you want to protect your ideas, or you can write up something juicy if you want to win the prize for this challenge. It's your move in this game of chess.
2. Second Challenge: Build a website. April 29 - May 12
Again, not really a challenge for any webdev worth their salt. However, what about packaging it up for simple deployment? What about responsive design? What about the other 9 free sites you can setup under your free Azure account? And how will your web app tie into the next challenge? Remember to write up your work in your article on CodeProject to have a chance at the prize for this second challenge.
3. Third Challenge: Using SQL on Azure. May 13 - May 26
Now it starts getting interesting. Use SQL on Azure in whatever way you wish. Add a little data to season the mix or use it as a backup.recovery solution. It's not just about data access. Again, write up what you've learned, what you're doing, and how you did it.
4. Fourth Challenge: Virtual Machines. May 27 - Jun 9

Never used a VM before? Never spun up a virtual machine from your application? It's time to try. Maybe you want to host a Windows or Linux application, or spin up a test environment, or have your own instance of SQL Express in a VM, or you can just spin up an instance of an existing web application to sit alongside your  application in a VM. We're really going to be digging into your article at this point. Is there code? Are there explanations of how you conquered challenges? Tell us your story.
5. Fifth Challenge: Mobile access June 10 - June 24
  You're done. You've built a distributed n-tier cloud based data driven web application hosted on multiple virtual machines and you are the Master. But does it work on your Nokia, iPhone or Galaxy? I mean really work. Nicely, intuitively, seamlessly. Offline. It's up to you what you do at this point, but the judges will be testing your final masterpiece on their phones and tablets. Your CodeProject article, at this point, should be mostly complete.

During each challenge spot challenges will be announced and prizes will be awarded. Possible spot announcements could be the 1,000th entry, the first to complete a 5 minute challenge, or the best haiku in an article's sample code. You never know.

Before you race off and complete the challenges in one fell swoop, be warned that your entry for one challenge cannot be used as an entry for a subsequent stage. If you build a data driven website in Challenge 1 then you need to enter something new for the data driven portion of Challenge 2.

What is the reward?

  • Each challenge will have 3 winners, with each winner receiving a 64 GB Surface RT with black Touch Cover (in the US only), or cash equivalent (outside of the US). That's $2,100 in prizes every two weeks, $10,500 in total
  • Each challenge will also have up to 10 spot prizes of $100 each. That's $1,000 on offer per challenge.
  • The Grand Prize winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and promotion on CodeProject and Microsoft owned and operated properties. Fame and fortune.

What sorts of applications are acceptable?

Almost anything. In any language. Use C++, use node.js, use PHP with MySQL, or C# on ASP.NET with MVC and SQL Server, Your call, as long as you complete the challenges

This competition is to help you learn about building and hosting applications on Windows Azure, so obviously applications that run on the Azure platform are required. However, not just anything will get you a winner's jersey. Be creative, be daring, over extend and over achieve. The more you show off your understanding of Azure, and the more you focus on explaining what you're doing, the better your chances.

Read the Windows Azure Developer overview for more info on what you can do on Azure then sign up for your free trial.


What if I missed a challenge?

Contestants who missed the deadline for one of the challenges can still go back and complete the challenges they missed, but they will not be eligible for that challenge's prizes. They will still be eligible for the grand prize and any spot prizes that occur while they are participating.

Do I write one article per challenge, or 1 article overall?

Please just write 1 article. At each challenge state you should go back and update your article.

Can you throw me some links on getting started?


Can anyone enter?

As with any competition of this nature there are some restrictions. Employees at Microsoft, and CodeProject cannot enter, and laws in certain jurisdictions also restrict entrants. Please see the Terms and Conditions for a full list. 

Do I have to write a full article with source code?

Yes, an article is an important component of the challenge since it is the place where you describe what you are doing and how you solved problems that you ran into. This contest is designed to teach contestants and the audience, so the better your article, the more code you show and the more you explain how you completed each challenge, the better.

Stage Winners

First Stage Winners

Enrique Albert

First Stage Spot Winners:

Brian Lakstins
Rahul Vijay Manekari
Darrin Lawson
Abhishek Nandy
Prathiraj Chakka

Second Stage Winners

Phil Lee NZ

Second Stage Spot Winners:

Enrique Albert
Jon Honess
Tim Corey
Henry Sheldon
Rahul Vijay Manekari
Phil Lee NZ

Third Stage Winners

Kyle Seidel
Tim Corey

Third Stage Spot Winners:

Tim Corey
Phil Lee NZ
Enrique Albert
Fred Harris
Henry Sheldon
Ambily K K
Abhishek Nandy

Fourth Stage Winners

Phil Lee NZ
Enrique Albert

Fourth Stage Spot Winners:

Nick Fera wins a bonus for being the first to get a server error
Roscler wins a bonus for 10 referrals
Lots of $20 winners!

Fifth Stage Winners

Phil Lee NZ
Enrique Albert

Fifth Stage Spot Winners:

Lots of $20 winners!

Grand Prize Winner

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winner Phil Lee NZ for his entry YouConf - Your Live Online Conferencing Tool in the CodeProject Windows Azure Developer Challenge.

A big thank you also goes out to everyone that took part in the challenge and winners in all stages of the competition! We hope you learned something new about Windows Azure and had some fun along the way. Please feel free to pass on any feedback you have on the competition in the comment section below.

Also, be sure to check some of the other great competitions we have going on right now like the CodeProject Ten Million Members Celebration Giveaway and the D&B Developer Challenge.

Deadlines are fast approaching!

Contest Judges:

These rules (and CodeProject® Terms of Use and CodeProject Contributors Agreement) govern the Windows Azure Developer Contest (the "Contest") and set out the terms and conditions between CodeProject and its affiliates ("CodeProject" or "us/we") and each participant ("participant", "contestant", or "you"). A submission to this Contest constitutes your acceptance of these Official Contest Rules (the "Rules").

  1. How to Enter: CodeProject, with sponsorship by Microsoft Corporation, is offering the Contest and will award prizes based on the results of judging all valid entries against the criteria established in these Rules.

    Between April 15, 2013 and Jun 30, 2013 11:59:59 PM US Eastern Standard Time , use whatever tools you have available to start creating an application hosted on Windows Azure that completes each challenge stage outlined in the Contest description. Post an article in our Azure section under "Windows Azure Developer Contest", describing the application you are building. During each state update your article and your hosted application to reflect the stage challenge for that particular stage. There are a total of five (5) challenges in this Contest, as described on the CodeProject website.

  2. Eligibility: This Contest is open to software development professionals & enthusiasts who are of the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence. Residents of Quebec and of the following countries are ineligible to participate due to legal constraints: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, and Syria. All national and local laws and regulations of the contestant’s country of residence apply. Residents of countries under U.S. embargo are not eligible to enter. Employees, officers and representatives (and members of their immediate families and those living in the same household of each) of both CodeProject and Microsoft, its parents, subsidiaries and affiliated companies, advertising and promotion agencies and any company involved in the design, execution, production or judging of this promotion ("contest entities") are ineligible. Void where prohibited.

  3. Entry Requirements: Participants must follow the article format provided by CodeProject on its website. Article submission must be in the English language. Participants must have registered a Windows Azure 90-day Free Trial (or a paid Windows Azure account).
  4. Judging: Entries will be judged by CodeProject judges at the end of each stage and at the end of the Contest as a whole. Prizes will be awarded based on how closely an entry adheres to the conditions of entry, including:
    • how effectively the application demonstrates the features available on Windows Azure ;
    • how effectively the application demonstrates creativity, user experience value and cloud based usage models;
    • how effectively the  article describes the final hosted application, and how the article encourages feedback or additional competitive submissions, and
    • the execution and presentation of the hosted application itself

    In addition, the votes and comments each submission receives on the CodeProject website will be taken into account. Judges decisions are final. You may withdraw your submission at any time by notifying CodeProject. If a submission is withdrawn your right to win a prize is terminated.

  5. Ownership and Publicity: Neither CodeProject nor Microsoft claim ownership of your submission to the contest (please see the "Ownership" item in CodeProject Contributors Agreement); but by submitting an entry, you grant CodeProject, its affiliated companies and necessary sub-licensees a worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free, irrevocable, non-exclusive, fully assignable and transferable right and license, to edit, adapt, translate, reformat your Work, to post your Work (eg. publish, display, perform, digitally perform) anywhere on our Site, to do what CodeProject feels it needs to do to manage and update the Site, to make and maintain back-up and archival copies, and to make your Work available to End Users in accordance with this Agreement and the specific EULA that you specify.

  6. Participant Warrants: By submitting an entry you warrant that your submission:
    • is a new application or a new version of an application and has not published previously.
    • does not contain any content that infringes on any third party Intellectual Property (IP) rights, and that you own or otherwise have all rights necessary for the submission including any and all IP rights.
    • does not disclose any information which would constitute a violation of a confidentiality obligation;
    • does not contain any viruses, worms, spyware, or other components or instructions that are malicious, deceptive, or designed to limit or harm the functionality of a computer.

  7. Prizes:
    • One Grand Prize: A cash prize of $2,500 and promotion on CodeProject and Microsoft owned and operated websites and properties
    • Fifteen (15) Challenge Prizes: Each of the five Challenges will have three (3) Challenge Prizes of one (1) 64 GB Surface RT with black Touch cover (in the US only), or cash equivalent (outside of the US). Approximate Retail Value of each Challenge Prize: US$700.
    • Fifty (50) Spot Prizes: US $100 Cash to be awarded randomly or for participating in Spot Challenges that may be issued throughout the contest. Each of the five Challenges will have ten (10) spot prizes.
    • Prize Value of Surface tablets is based on estimated average retail price at the time the Contest starts. Since prices may fluctuate in the marketplace, CodeProject will determine the value of the prize, or cash equivalent, at the time of the prizes are awarded.

    All winners will be notified via email. If after seven (7) days of the second notification to the winner no acknowledgement or response is received the prize is forfeited, and CodeProject will select another winner.

    Substitution or transfer of Prizes is not allowed, and Prizes may not be redeemed for cash. If a Prize becomes unavailable or is prohibited by law CodeProject may at its sole discretion award a substitute prize of equal or greater value. The winner accepts responsibility for all federal, state and local taxes and fees in connection with the prizes. If you are a potential winner, we may require you to sign an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability/Publicity Release and a W-9 tax form or W-8 BEN tax form within 10 days of notification.

    Apart from prizes offered as part of the contest, no monetary compensation will be paid for any of your contest submissions. Microsoft and CodeProject are not responsible for contest entries not received due to lost, failed, delayed or interrupted connections or miscommunications, or other electronic malfunctions. Microsoft and CodeProject are not responsible for incorrect or inaccurate entry information, whether caused by you or any other persons or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in the contest.

  8. Warranties and Disclaimers: Surface devices come with the standard manufacture warranty only . To the fullest extent allowable by law, CodeProject specifically disclaims any representations or warranties, express or implied, regarding the contest or the prizes including any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose and implied warranties arising from course of dealing or course of performance.
  9. Release of Liability and Issues of Law: By participating, all entrants release CodeProject and Microsoft, their affiliates, partners, subsidiaries, officers, directors, agents, employees and all entities associated with the development and execution of this promotion from any and all liability with respect to and in any way arising from participating in this promotion, acceptance or use of prizes. Neither CodeProject nor Microsoft assume any responsibility for incorrect or inaccurate capture of entry information, technical malfunctions, human or technical error, lost, delayed or garbled data or transmissions, omission, interruption, deletion, defect or failures of any telephone or computer line or network, computer equipment, software or any combination thereof. Entry materials/data that have been tampered with or altered are void. If for any reason, in the opinion of CodeProject in its sole discretion, the contest is not capable of running as originally planned, or if the administration, security, fairness, integrity or the proper conduct of the contest is corrupted or adversely affected, including by reason of infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures or any other causes beyond its control, CodeProject reserves its right to cancel, terminate, modify, amend, extend or suspend the contest including cancelling any method of entry, and select a winner from previously received eligible entries. CodeProject reserves its right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual it finds to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the contest or to be acting in violation of the Rules or otherwise in a disruptive manner. CodeProject reserves its right to seek remedies and damages to the fullest extent of the law for any attempts to deliberately damage the contest web site or to undermine the legitimate operation of this contest. CodeProject shall not be held responsible for any errors or negligence that may arise or occur in connection with the contest including any damage to an entrant's computer equipment, system, software or any combination thereof, as a result of their participation in this contest or from downloading any material from the contest website where applicable.
  10. Generally: CodeProject may make changes to these rules at any time without notice to you. Contributing to the contest or accepting prizes will constitute acceptance of the revised rules. These rules prevail in the event of any conflict or inconsistency with any other communications, including advertising or promotional materials.

    If, for reasons beyond CodeProject’s control (including, but not limited to, tampering or computer virus infection), the contest is not capable of running as originally planned, CodeProject, at its sole discretion but in consultation with Microsoft, reserves the right to cancel or modify the Contest, without liability. CodeProject will not be responsible for lost, late, misdirected, damaged, or illicit submissions, or for Internet, computer hardware and software, phone, and other technical errors, omissions malfunctions, and delays. Entries are void if they contain material typographical or other errors. All entrants agree to comply fully with each provision in these Rules. Any person attempting to defraud or in any way tamper with this contest and any person who does not comply with these Rules, will be ineligible for any prize(s) and may be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

    For any feedback or questions regarding the contest or the prizes you can participate in the contest discussion forum.

  11. Winners' List: Names of winners will be posted on the CodeProject website, here.
  12. Sponsor: Microsoft Corporation, One Microsoft WA, Redmond, WA 98052.
GeneralRe: EST or EDT? Pin
Natasha Surovy1-May-13 7:08
staffNatasha Surovy1-May-13 7:08 
GeneralScreenshots sent. Pin
Rahul Vijay Manekari1-May-13 7:10
memberRahul Vijay Manekari1-May-13 7:10 
GeneralRe: EST or EDT? Pin
AspDotNetDev1-May-13 7:07
protectorAspDotNetDev1-May-13 7:07 
AnswerRe: EST or EDT? Pin
Chris Maunder1-May-13 7:11
adminChris Maunder1-May-13 7:11 
OK, I should have said "US Eastern Daylight Time" or "The time in the Eastern Portion of the continental United States", or even more specifically "Local time, Toronto" but I assumed when I say "US Eastern" would be clear.

My apologies if I was not 100%, unambiguously, in context clear.
Chris Maunder

The Code Project | Co-founder
Microsoft C++ MVP

GeneralRe: EST or EDT? Pin
AspDotNetDev1-May-13 7:15
protectorAspDotNetDev1-May-13 7:15 
GeneralRe: EST or EDT? Pin
Ranjan.D1-May-13 7:21
memberRanjan.D1-May-13 7:21 
GeneralRe: EST or EDT? Pin
AspDotNetDev1-May-13 7:25
protectorAspDotNetDev1-May-13 7:25 
GeneralRe: EST or EDT? Pin
Ranjan.D1-May-13 7:32
memberRanjan.D1-May-13 7:32 
QuestionRe: EST or EDT? Pin
AspDotNetDev1-May-13 7:35
protectorAspDotNetDev1-May-13 7:35 
AnswerRe: EST or EDT? Pin
Ranjan.D1-May-13 7:40
memberRanjan.D1-May-13 7:40 

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