Microsoft Windows 8 app Fest, an 18 hour nonstop marathon coding festival held at Karnataka Trade Promotion Organization (KTPO) in Bengaluru, registered itself into the Guinness Book of World Records for the maximum number of developers coding for a single event at a common location. The total number of coders was logged at 2567 by the Guinness officials present at the venue. The initial number of developers expected by Microsoft India at the beginning of the Windows App fest was around 3500.
While a major chunk of the participants consisted of students from science and engineering background, the app fest also saw professional developers and teams from app development companies taking part in the event. Microsoft also flew in some of their best tech teams to work alongside the participants to help the participants convert their ideas into final applications.
The coding marathon wasn’t a race to the finish line, though — developers were encouraged to begin working on their apps before the actual event, and did not need to finish coding at the end of the allotted time to be counted as part of the record. Those who did however, had a chance to submit their apps for review to Microsoft’s App Excellence Labs on-site, in order to receive feedback and/or acceptance of their app into the Windows Store (where apps for Windows 8 will be made available).
Participants were also allowed to seek help from available mentors, IT assistants, recognized app developers and Microsoft engineers at the venue. Food and beverages were also provided to sustain the army of coders through the long session.
Notes from the press conferenceBhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, Microsoft Corporation (India), spoke at the press conference prior to the event, saying, “Windows 8 is ‘Good for India.’ In India, Microsoft is making significant investments and working with 1.2 million developers, over 1000 independent software vendors and more than 2000 system integrators to empower them with the tools, technologies and training required to develop high-end skills and compete in a global marketplace.”
Discussing the event at hand, Pramanik continued, “The Windows AppFest will encourage budding developers, technology enthusiasts and entrepreneurs to innovate on next-generation Windows technology, crucial for the development of the local software ecosystem and the long-term economic growth of India’s IT industry.”
Q&AA brief Q&A session with Pramanik and Amrish Goyal, director of Windows Business Group, Microsoft India, followed, during which a few key points about Windows 8 and the way forward for the OS were mentioned.
First, the revenue sharing model for Windows 8 apps allows developers to keep 70% of the first $25,000 that their app generates and 80% of the rest, as well as 100% of all in-app purchase revenue. Next, the barrier for entry for developers is fairly low with the Windows 8 platform, with upgrades from Windows 7 to Windows 8 costing only Rs. 699 (~ $13) in India, and full backward compatibility with apps written for Windows 7. Plus, the opportunity for developers would be greater than ever before, with a new global reach spanning 200 countries and roughly 70 languages.
Pramanik mentioned, without giving away many details in response to a question about Windows 8-compatible hardware (such as tablets) availability, that come October 26, India would see Windows 8 presented in all its glory.
The AppFest was brought to a close at 8am, with an announcement an hour later by Paul O’Neill, VP Commercial, Guinness World Records, stating that the record for the world’s largest app development marathon had officially been set. Eight notable apps (covering social, health and wellness, and gaming categories) were recognized at the event with awards and granted entry into the Windows Store.
O’Neill’s statement was followed by Pramanik’s, who wrapped up the event along with Jon DeVaan by addressing the participants, “I want to thank you for setting this Guinness World Record. This country needs good news, and that’s what you gave India today. What you’ve done here today proves what we’ve been saying, that we are transitioning from the era of client-server computing to the era of connected devices, and that cloud computing and continuous cloud services are a reality and that it’s not difficult to achieve. You’ve taken your ideas and turned them into apps that will soon flow into millions of devices across the globe. Thank you for your participation.”
Microsoft hopes that a much larger number of apps incubated at the AppFest will make it to the Windows Store, and perhaps a few will even be in time for the launch of Windows 8 on October 26 this year. To this end, they are providing comprehensive support to developers in India by way of a coders’ helpline of sorts, as well as extensive guidance on how to create and market apps.
The opportunity for developers is indeed huge, not only because most of India computes on Windows operating systems, but because it will open up a new avenue for the world’s second largest population of software professionals to build and sell apps for a variety of devices including desktops and tablets in both personal computing and enterprise computing spaces.