For 18 hours, 2,567 programmers wrote code under one roof to create a world record at the Windows 8 AppFest in Bangalore on Friday and Saturday. But the event wasn’t all API, C++ and HTML 5. Here are glimpses of the FunFest from the sidelines of the KTPO arena in Whitefield
After announcing at the opening ceremony that the coding marathon was going to last 18 hours, compere Gaurav Kapoor could not resist commenting: “That’s about the time it took me to get here from the airport.” The distance of the Bangalore airport, deep in the suburbs, from the city was a constant source of wisecracks. When Guinness World Records VP Paul ’Neill said at the closing ceremony that he would have been 50 miles from the venue if he had to tell the 2,500-plus developers that they had not created the record after coding through the night, Gaurav chipped in: “But that would have only got you halfway to the airport.”
The Microsoft people too did not leave their sense of humour behind at the Redmond headquarters while creating the platform for developers. The garbage bins carried pictures of the ‘Shift’ and ‘Del’ keys, which are pressed together to permanently delete a file.
Jeans and canvas shoes ruled. Girls — and there were plenty — mostly dressed in Indian traditional. As the cool Bangalore evening set in, out came the jackets with hoods a la Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network.
With so many techies in one place, the KTPO complex was a gadget haven for two days. Samsung Galaxy Note II, Asus Transformer Prime, Google Nexus 7, Amazon Kindle Fire HD... you name it and someone was carrying it. All eyes were however on the Microsoft engineers, who had with them tablets and laptops not seen in shops yet. Sadly, the Surface tablet wasn’t one of them.
South Indian, north Indian, Mediterranean, Continental, Oriental... think of the biggest spread you have seen and multiply it by 20 for an idea of the munch menu. All free and in unlimited quantities. If you were thirsty, you only had to walk a few steps to the nearest fridge packed with fruit juices, soft drinks and even several kinds of bottled water. Between meals, you could dig into cookies, pastries with or without egg, donuts with or without gluten, chips with or without fat.... You get the drift.
DJs and blue strobe lights? Quite a few did a double take on entering the main arena. Then the loudspeakers started belting out Deepside Deejays’s Never Be Alone (as if, in a hall where thousands had packed in). The beats kept the energy level up through the night.
Plug and play
Those stuck with their programmes could clear their heads by stepping out of the coding room and playing on the Xbox 360 consoles, complete with Kinect. Or catch forty winks on colourful beanbags in a corner or watch the magic show or the rock concert on the main stage. It’s a wonder that so many people still managed to write their programmes.
Eat.Drink.Code./ My CPU’s gonna overload went the refrain from the official anthem of the AppFest, a catchy pop tune set to thumping beats. If anyone was in any doubt about where he or she was, the song made it loud and clear.
From 14-year-old participant Rahul Dominic, the youngest at the fest, to guest Kunal Chourasia, who developed the Flyte MP3 app for Flipkart, developers of every stripe roamed the code jungle. Some were working on Apple notebooks at the Microsoft event. One put a sticker over the Apple logo so that no one would notice it. Tech guru and unique ID project head Nandan Nilekani, who dropped in, was impressed with a mentally and physically challenged developer with only his parents in his team. And at the end of it all, hundreds of apps reached the Windows Store, said Harish Vaidyanathan, director (evangelism), Microsoft India.
Have you participated in any app fest? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org