Microsoft sponsors a hacking contest - the coding kind

By , Network World |  Software, Microsoft, windows 8

The focus of the event is to bring developers up to speed writing apps for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Azure. The big perceived shortcoming of the new platforms and devices that support them is there aren't enough applications in the new Windows store to make buying them a compelling choice for consumers.

Over the past two months the number of apps in the store has grown from about 1,000 to about 10,000, according to the Web site winappupdate.com, which has written code to count them. And still more than 85% of the apps are free, which doesn't give developers much payback.

That doesn't deter Erik Zettersten, a freelance coder from Reston, Va., who has done work for the Food Network. He calls the coding super easy compared to writing for Linux and Unix, mainly because the development tools and the coding languages have been written to complement each other better than tools he's worked with for other languages. Windows 8 and Phone 8 coding can be done in JavaScript, HTML5, C++, C# and Visual Basic.

His application is called Channels and is written for developers. It's a realtime Internet chat application that can be snapped to one side of a Windows 8 screen and where users can post programming questions to other developers worldwide. Anyone with the app can post answers.

So far he's picked his mentor's brain for information about Web sockets, something he needs for the app but hasn't worked with much before in Microsoft applications. He's also hoping there's an application template that is part of Visual Studio that he doesn't know about but can tap to make the project go faster.

Regardless of whether he finishes in the money for the hackathon, he regards the competition as time well spent. "Just for the atmosphere alone - it's full of smart people so I can get answers real quickly," Zettersten says.

(Tim Greene covers Microsoft for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/Tim_Greene.)

Read more about wide area network in Network World's Wide Area Network section.


Originally published on Network World |  Click here to read the original story.
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