Waterloo WowZapp Microsoft Worldwide Hackathon

3617.image_0BF73627Waterloo WOWZAPP 2012 was an amazing experience! We were thrilled to see the creative work that people came up with in less than a day’s work. Our advertisement efforts successfully reached out to almost 70 students including nearby colleges.

We started the event with a brief presentation on Windows 8 tools and development environment. A lot of people were given the Windows 8 Camp-in-a-Box kit to get them acquainted with development in Windows 8 and Visual Studio. We manage to retain around 40 people late in the evening. We ordered almost 200 slices of pizza and saw it all magically vanish in four minutes! Wow! Students are certainly a hungry set of people. The event had to officially pause at 1:00 am due to university policy however, several people took it upon themselves to spend the night and continue the development. This was a pleasant surprise when we arrived the next morning and we were amazed by their enthusiasm.

Saturday had approximately 30 attendees. By this time, everyone was dedicated and had a solid idea for their app. Some of them wanted to continue to learn and work on the tutorials and a few people showed up at the end for the app presentations because they were curious to see the hackers’ hard work. People started understanding their way around the different tools and started getting more comfortable with the APIs which generated excitement through the event as we partnered with the UW Mobile Club and a student group on-campus working on making more data open on api.uwaterloo.ca. This was inspiration for many great app ideas for University of Waterloo students.

At 5pm, we collected all the apps and asked the groups to present them. Check it out here! During the presentation, Harris Rasheed said “We are supposed to find the top three out of this?! This is torture”. Rewarding only the top three groups seemed too little! We awarded two Windows Phones to the top two groups, Convertr and Sneak Peek. Rudi Chen kindly offered to donate his own Arc Mouse as a reward to the third group.

The event was a great success and we are looking forward to hosting the next one!


Unit converters are the most common type of apps on App stores; no surprises there. However, Converter is not your average unit converter. It doesn't require you to specify the target unit but rather, it will make an educated guess on what you want and it's quite extensive! This makes the app very convenient to use. The app also implements Modern UI design guidelines very well, featuring semantic zoom, search contract, an excellent use of screen estate. Made by Richard Ye and currently available on the Windows Store! Be sure to download this steal.


Sneak Peek allows you to watch recent movie trailers. After only 24 hours of work, the app is already an excellent example of clean and functional design, with a background somewhat reminiscent of the red tissue found in movie theatres. Made by Alexandru Blidaru and Darien Morris.


Recipe Box features virtual cards on which you can write down recipes. The design and colors are well chosen and navigation between different parts of the interface include smooth and fluid animations. The designers have, in their limited time, managed to complete features such as the search contract. Made by Jack, Ewin and Michael.


A grand total of ten Windows 8 and one Windows Phone applications were created. We were absolutely astonished by how incredible some of the apps were considering the sheer amount of APIs and concepts such as asynchronous calls that need to be learned to make apps. Especially in one day!

Sudoku Solver does exactly what the name says. This app was put to the test and the developer issued an open challenge and sure enough, it solved the world's hardest problem in a matter of seconds. A number of applications made use of data from University of Waterloo Open Data Initiative, allowing them to perform functions such as finding the number of parking slots left around campus, navigating maps of campus buildings and finding unbooked rooms to study in, which, as a student, I find very practical. Equally useful are grading apps that, among other things, compute weighted averages, which can be done in fewer clicks and keystrokes than it would normally take me to do in a spreadsheet. Todoodle is a to-do list apps that makes good use of W8 APIs and is both aesthetically pleasing and practical to use; different items can be dragged and dropped across various categories. Resume Presenter displays your skillset, experience and qualifications in a modern UI style, which is an interesting way to visualize achievements.The creator, Michael Craddox, suggested that it could be used on a tablet in an interview.

If you are a Canadian don't forget to register for the Developer Movement so you get rewarded for your published app! If you are a student consider entering your app in the Windows 8 challenge of Imagine Cup!


MSP’s Waterloo  Rudi Chen, Harris Rasheed, Piyush Gadigone

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