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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:

Conditions of Entry | Current winners list

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PinnedSpot Challenge - Stage 4 - Extended! Pin
Chris Maunder2-Jun-13 19:13
adminChris Maunder2-Jun-13 19:13 
**Update 9 July, 2013** The $20 bonus offer for signing up to the Windows Azure Trial is now over. To be eligible for the bonus you had to send us your confirmation emails and screenshots before the contest ended on June 30, 2013 at 11:59:59 PM US Eastern Standard Time. Any confirmations received after this date are invalid and no $20 bonus will be awarded. Thank you for your participation.

This stage revolves around VMs, and so we've been toying around with ideas on load testing - a favourite bugbear of mine when it comes to VMs. Our ideas seemed a little complicated when we suddenly got an unexpected extra lump of prize money - over $40,000 extra prize money . We looked at each other and realised that there's a great way to give away that cash quickly to lots of people while also stress testing an Azure service. Microsoft's service, to be exact.

The challenge: Sign up for an Azure trial [^]and get $20.

The Details:

So yes, pretty easy, but:

a) We want you to sign up as close as possible to 12PM US Eastern Daylight time each day of this week (ends Jun 9th when the Azure challenge ends!)

b) We want you to bring your friends. Lots of them. They get $20 too, and the more you bring the more you get

- Bring in 10 friends and get a bonus of $100
- Bring in 20 friends and get a bonus of $250
- bring in 50 friends and get a bonus of $750

You can only win one bonus (ie bringing in 40 doesn't give you 2 x 20 friend bonuses)

c) The first person who gets a server error or server busy screen wins a Surface RT, same as the stage prize Surface's. You'll need to send clear proof that your signup caused a server issue. We will confer with Microsoft to corroborate your claims.

Send your confirmation emails to

The Fine Print

1. You need to email us proof that you signed up. A screen grab of the signup screen with your email address, or the confirmation email you received.

2. If you can't hit signup at midday exactly, or you get timezones wrong or it's just bad timing for you we'll still honour the $20 spot prize no matter what time you actually sign up. Hitting the servers at the same time as everyone else increases your chances of the Server Fault Spot Prize (ie the Surface).

3. To get the flash mob friend bonuses, your friends need to include your email address in their confirmation email so we know they are part of your group. A person can only be in one group.

4. You need a credit card to sign up, but that card won't be charged if you cancel. Even better: Microsoft have set the default spending limit on new accounts to $0, so even if you forget to cancel your free trial your card will not be charged.

5. We will be awarding a maximum of 1850 $20 sign-up prizes. As soon as we hit signup #1850 the challenge ends.

6. All winners are on a first come, first served basis. Get your confirmation emails in quickly. Any of your friends who send in their confirmations after the challenge ends (or the 1850 prizes are won) will not count towards your bonus pool. Get your friends organised!

7. Payment is via PayPal, so include your PayPal account email in your confirmation email so we can award prizes, please.

8. We reserve the right to update the rules in order to clarify and enforce the spirit of this challenge.

A warning

Don't try and create lots of accounts using the same credit card. This may get you kicked from Azure and goes against the spirit of this spot challenge.
Chris Maunder

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

modified 9-Jul-13 13:43pm.

PinnedHow to make the judges happy and get a great score Pin
Chris Maunder17-May-13 2:53
adminChris Maunder17-May-13 2:53 
PinnedIf you already have an Azure account Pin
Chris Maunder28-Apr-13 10:50
adminChris Maunder28-Apr-13 10:50 
GeneralAnd the Grand Prize Winner is... Pin
Kevin Priddle5-Jul-13 15:16
staffKevin Priddle5-Jul-13 15:16 
GeneralRe: And the Grand Prize Winner is... Pin
AspDotNetDev5-Jul-13 15:29
protectorAspDotNetDev5-Jul-13 15:29 
GeneralRe: And the Grand Prize Winner is... Pin
roscler5-Jul-13 15:47
professionalroscler5-Jul-13 15:47 
GeneralRe: And the Grand Prize Winner is... Pin
Phil Lee NZ5-Jul-13 20:12
memberPhil Lee NZ5-Jul-13 20:12 
GeneralRe: And the Grand Prize Winner is... Pin
AspDotNetDev8-Jul-13 7:51
protectorAspDotNetDev8-Jul-13 7:51 
GeneralRe: And the Grand Prize Winner is... Pin
Patrick McCurley5-Jul-13 23:18
professionalPatrick McCurley5-Jul-13 23:18 
GeneralRe: And the Grand Prize Winner is... Pin
Ranjan.D6-Jul-13 1:49
professionalRanjan.D6-Jul-13 1:49 
GeneralRe: And the Grand Prize Winner is... Pin
Abhishek Nandy6-Jul-13 10:37
memberAbhishek Nandy6-Jul-13 10:37 
GeneralCongrats Stage 5 Winners! Pin
Kevin Priddle3-Jul-13 4:27
staffKevin Priddle3-Jul-13 4:27 
GeneralRe: Congrats Stage 5 Winners! Pin
roscler3-Jul-13 4:58
professionalroscler3-Jul-13 4:58 
GeneralGot my Third Round Spot Prize but didnot get the First round one Pin
Abhishek Nandy27-Jun-13 5:08
memberAbhishek Nandy27-Jun-13 5:08 
GeneralRe: Got my Third Round Spot Prize but didnot get the First round one Pin
Kevin Priddle27-Jun-13 13:26
staffKevin Priddle27-Jun-13 13:26 
GeneralJudging has commenced! Pin
Kevin Priddle25-Jun-13 11:01
staffKevin Priddle25-Jun-13 11:01 
GeneralRe: Judging has commenced! Pin
AspDotNetDev25-Jun-13 12:21
protectorAspDotNetDev25-Jun-13 12:21 
GeneralRe: Judging has commenced! Pin
Kevin Priddle26-Jun-13 8:18
staffKevin Priddle26-Jun-13 8:18 
GeneralRe: Judging has commenced! Pin
ambilykk25-Jun-13 19:02
memberambilykk25-Jun-13 19:02 
GeneralRe: Judging has commenced! Pin
Kevin Priddle26-Jun-13 8:19
staffKevin Priddle26-Jun-13 8:19 
GeneralRe: Judging has commenced! Pin
ambilykk2-Jul-13 19:51
memberambilykk2-Jul-13 19:51 
GeneralRe: Judging has commenced! Pin
Kevin Priddle3-Jul-13 4:27
staffKevin Priddle3-Jul-13 4:27 
GeneralFourth and Fifth Stage Spot Winners? Pin
GrapecityIndia24-Jun-13 23:19
groupGrapecityIndia24-Jun-13 23:19 
GeneralRe: Fourth and Fifth Stage Spot Winners? Pin
Tim Corey25-Jun-13 3:09
professionalTim Corey25-Jun-13 3:09 
GeneralRe: Fourth and Fifth Stage Spot Winners? Pin
Kevin Priddle25-Jun-13 11:07
staffKevin Priddle25-Jun-13 11:07 
GeneralClarification over the competition end date Pin
Patrick McCurley24-Jun-13 2:54
professionalPatrick McCurley24-Jun-13 2:54 
GeneralRe: Clarification over the competition end date Pin
Kevin Priddle24-Jun-13 7:07
staffKevin Priddle24-Jun-13 7:07 
GeneralRe: Clarification over the competition end date Pin
Patrick McCurley24-Jun-13 8:00
professionalPatrick McCurley24-Jun-13 8:00 
GeneralGiving a warm welcome to myself... Pin
Kevin Priddle19-Jun-13 10:37
staffKevin Priddle19-Jun-13 10:37 
GeneralRe: Giving a warm welcome to myself... Pin
Phil Lee NZ19-Jun-13 17:18
memberPhil Lee NZ19-Jun-13 17:18 
GeneralRe: Giving a warm welcome to myself... Pin
Kevin Priddle20-Jun-13 8:44
staffKevin Priddle20-Jun-13 8:44 
GeneralRe: Giving a warm welcome to myself... Pin
Enrique Albert20-Jun-13 2:17
professionalEnrique Albert20-Jun-13 2:17 
GeneralRe: Giving a warm welcome to myself... Pin
Kevin Priddle20-Jun-13 8:44
staffKevin Priddle20-Jun-13 8:44 
GeneralRe: Giving a warm welcome to myself... Pin
roscler21-Jun-13 3:06
professionalroscler21-Jun-13 3:06 
GeneralRe: Giving a warm welcome to myself... Pin
Kevin Priddle21-Jun-13 5:47
staffKevin Priddle21-Jun-13 5:47 
GeneralFourth Stage Winners Pin
Natasha Surovy17-Jun-13 11:50
staffNatasha Surovy17-Jun-13 11:50 
GeneralRe: Fourth Stage Winners Pin
roscler17-Jun-13 12:04
professionalroscler17-Jun-13 12:04 
GeneralRe: Fourth Stage Winners Pin
Ranjan.D17-Jun-13 12:36
professionalRanjan.D17-Jun-13 12:36 
GeneralRe: Fourth Stage Winners Pin
Enrique Albert18-Jun-13 3:27
professionalEnrique Albert18-Jun-13 3:27 
GeneralSwitched from Free Trail to Paid Pin
K2DaC213-Jun-13 23:46
memberK2DaC213-Jun-13 23:46 
GeneralRe: Switched from Free Trail to Paid Pin
roscler13-Jun-13 23:58
professionalroscler13-Jun-13 23:58 
GeneralRe: Switched from Free Trail to Paid Pin
K2DaC214-Jun-13 1:51
memberK2DaC214-Jun-13 1:51 
GeneralRe: Switched from Free Trail to Paid Pin
Ranjan.D14-Jun-13 5:43
professionalRanjan.D14-Jun-13 5:43 
GeneralRe: Switched from Free Trail to Paid Pin
Phil Lee NZ14-Jun-13 1:02
memberPhil Lee NZ14-Jun-13 1:02 
GeneralRe: Switched from Free Trail to Paid Pin
K2DaC214-Jun-13 1:38
memberK2DaC214-Jun-13 1:38 
QuestionIntended audience? Pin
Patrick McCurley13-Jun-13 10:07
professionalPatrick McCurley13-Jun-13 10:07 
AnswerRe: Intended audience? Pin
Tim Corey13-Jun-13 13:42
professionalTim Corey13-Jun-13 13:42 
GeneralRe: Intended audience? Pin
Patrick McCurley15-Jun-13 2:35
professionalPatrick McCurley15-Jun-13 2:35 
AnswerRe: Intended audience? Pin
Chris Maunder14-Jun-13 17:40
adminChris Maunder14-Jun-13 17:40 
GeneralRe: Intended audience? Pin
Patrick McCurley15-Jun-13 2:32
professionalPatrick McCurley15-Jun-13 2:32 

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