Friday, August 26, 2011

CloudSpokes + Dreamforce = Awesome

Sal loves Dreamforce!
Dreamforce! Dreamforce! Dreamforce! We've been prepping for Dreamforce for the last couple of months but it's become almost our sole focus recently.

Here's a run-down of how we are involved in Dreamforce. There will be a number of us running around in our "CloudSpokes" attire so you can't miss us. Make sure you stop by our booth in the Developer Zone and say "HI!" and pick up any schwag we may have available.

Dreamforce Mobile Party App
This year's Dreamforce is sure to be packed with plenty of fun and excitement.  To help you keep track of all your social events we ran a CloudSpokes challenge to develop a mobile-friendly party app for Dreamforce attendees.  It's an open source, mobile friendly application (it's compatible with any HTML5 enabled mobile devicee) that allow attendees to stay current on all your social activities at this year's hottest cloud conference. Bookmark the app on your mobile device:
Dreamforce Hackathon
CloudSpokes will be powering this year's Dreamforce Hackathon! Our framework provides a publicly accessible way to support teams, team leaders, team images, app submissions, judging, scoring, and has a dynamic scorecard to announce winners. We'll be highly visible during the hackathon so if you need any assistance, don't hesitate to ask. Details on the hackathon will be announced this Friday.

Appirio Popart
Another one of our CloudSpokes challenges produced the Appirio Popart site. It's a fun and interactive way to showcase your creative, free-spirited talents and even win some cash. Take peek at some of the submissions.

Dreamforce Sessions
The CloudSpokes crew is involved in a number of sessions throughout Dreamforce.

How to Crowdsource Cloud Development - Jeff Douglas
1:30-2:00PM, Tue 8/30 @ Lightning Forum

Azure vs. Lessons Learned from Replatforming - Dave Messinger, Jeff Douglas
5:00-6:00PM, Tue 8/30

Gamification: Why it's not a bad word - Dave Messinger
11:30-12:00PM, Wed 8/31 @ Lightning Forum

PaaS and Open Source: The New Frontier - Jeff Douglas
3:30-4:30PM, Wed 8/31 @ Moscone West 2016

Connect Your Clouds with - Jeff Douglas
8:30-9:30AM, Fri 9/2 @ Moscone West 2018

The Dreamforce Hackathon starts ... NOW!

Mission: Code the Cloud to Compete!

Your Mission:
  • The challenge in this hackathon is to create a cloud app for the social enterprise.
  • Build an app or service that has the potential to transform the way a company does business.
  • Think about using components from a social, collaborative, mobile, enterprise, and/or location aspect.
  • More information available at:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1st CloudSpokes Community Hangout a Success!

Great turnout for our first Google+ Community Hangout! We had a number of people stop by and a few people tried to joint but were unable to for various technical reasons. There were people in the hangout from three different continents and it was really great to finally meet and talk with people that we only interact with online.

The conversation was very interesting as there were wide range of audience members. We had some discussions about Dreamforce, upcoming announcements, challenge ideas, likes and dislikes about CloudSpokes and even the birth of a member's new baby. One member even exclaimed, "I'm literally addicted to these challenges!"

As you would expect, there was quite a bit of technical talk and the majority of it was on the topic of Cloud Foundry and their new micro. Some members had installed the micro already and we got some really good feedback and insights.

All and all it was a really fun event and my guess is that we'll make it a regular community event. There's even talk about doing a couple of hangouts at Dreamforce next week for members that cannot make it to San Francisco.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

RSS to Chatter Groups Released to Open Source

We just announced the results of our RSS to Chatter Groups challenge and thought to ourselves.. "hey, this is really cool... we should make it available to everyone in the community"!

Well, we've done just that! You can find the code for the RSS to Chatter Groups application at our GitHub repo under the MIT license. Feel free to fork away and start adding it to your org.

RSS to Chatter Groups Winners - 5 Great Submissions!

It took a little longer than expected (judges were waiting on some developer feedback) but we can now declare a winner for our RSS to Chatter Groups challenge. We had 5 awesome submissions (2 in Java App Engine and 3 in Apex) and narrowed it down to first and second. The judging was really close as everyone had roughly the same functionality. It came down to the following additional features:

  1. Additional ability to add RSS entries based upon a last run date.
  2. Ability to add hashtags to the RSS entries.
Techtrekker took first place with his submission.

Kenji776 came in second place with his submission.

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Congrats to all participants with some great code submissions!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Come "Hangout" with the CloudSpokes Team on Thursday

We'll be holding our first CloudSpokes "Hangout" on Google+ this Thursday (Aug 25) from 2pm-3pm EST. Feel free to stop by and meet the gang, inquire about challenges, ask questions about our plans for Dreamforce or just hangout.

If you don't have a Google+ account and would like one, let us know as we have invites available. Just send your Gmail address to cloudspokes[at]appirio(dot)com and let us know you are requesting a Google+ invite.

Once you are on Google+ make sure you add Jeff Douglas and David Messinger to your circles and we'll add you as well. At 2pm we'll send out the invite to your stream but you also might want to follow @cloudspokes on Twitter as we'll be blasting out info there as well. You can also search for Jeff or Dave by name in Google+ and any hangouts that are currently active will display on their pages.

Look forward to hanging out together!

Monday, August 22, 2011

CloudSpokes to Power the Dreamforce 2011 Hackathon

Yes - you read that correctly.  And yes - we’re pretty darn excited about it.  CloudSpokes is powering the Dreamforce 2011 Hackathon, meaning, we’re going to be providing Dreamforce with our Hackathon Framework to help run the event.

The CloudSpokes Hackathon Framework provides a publicly accessible way to support teams, team leaders, team images, app submissions, judging, scoring, and has a dynamic scorecard to announce winners.

We tracked down the team behind the scenes at Salesforce to discuss what their plans were for the Hackathon this year, what themes were going to be present, what sponsors would be involved, and lastly why they decided to use CloudSpokes.

CloudSpokes (CS): So what is this year’s plan - what can info can you give us about the event prior to DF11?
Nick Tran (NT), Senior Director of Developer Marketing at Salesforce: “We’re calling the developer area the Developer Zone this year as opposed to the Zone since we’ll be covering,, and Heroku which I am really excited about.  It will be located on the 2nd floor of Moscone West and if you remember from last year, it will be teeming with activity.  One of the thing I’m looking forward to most is the Dreamforce Hackathon, which is the preiminent event for bringing out the very best in developers. We’re going to allow pre-registration using CloudSpokes about a week prior to the event (so stay tuned), and then the Hackathon will run from Tuesday morning through Thursday. The top 20 finalists will be pitching their apps to the community at the Hackathon finale Thursday afternoon. We’re going to have three major prizes as well as individual sponsor category prizes.”
CS: Can you give us a preview of the theme?
NT: “The theme this year is going to be ‘Mission: Impossible’-style, but since most anything is possible in the cloud, we’re calling it Mission: Code Compete. We’ll be posting all of the event details soon.”
CS: Can you give us a preview of the sponsors involved, and their prize categories?
NT: “Twilio is the main Hackathon sponsor.  Additionally, we have a few other partners signed up - Appirio, DocuSign, Gnip, StackMob, and Salesforce Sustainability. I cannot speak to the partner prize categories just yet, but you’ll find out soon enough. Stay tuned to the developer site, and #dfhack on Twitter.”
CS: How did CloudSpokes come to be involved in hosting the hackathon?
NT: “Since its launch, CloudSpokes has been on our radar. It’s the first developer community we’ve seen that’s solely focused on public cloud, and being such, also focuses strongly on the platform. For those of us on the developer team at Salesforce, we’re very excited about CloudSpokes. We saw that the team helped out with the DocuSign Hackathon, and thought there might be a great way to provide similar support for our DF11 Hackathon.”
CS: Thanks Nick - we’re thrilled to be involved! 

Hope to see you all at the public cloud developer event of the year!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Dreamforce Mobile Party App, live and in effect!

Hot on the heels of the announcement, Appirio has publicly launched the Dreamforce Mobile Party App! This was a hotly contested challenge, with two excellent submissions, but mbleigh's heroku app took the cake.

You can find the landing page for the Dreamforce Mobile Party App at, or go directly to the app at To follow along as the Dreamforce party-goers get their social on, just checkout the #DFParty hashtag on twitter!

[08/09/12 UPDATE: The party app has a new home - now located at - go get it!]

Welcome Aboard Mavens Consulting!

A couple of weeks ago we released the results of 30+ CloudSpokes challenges to the open source community (see CloudSpokes Open Source Sweetness) and threw down the gauntlet. We announced that we were opening up the CloudSpokes platform to any company - ISV or enterprise - to run open source challenges for essentially free. We were hoping that companies would take us up on the offer but we never thought it would happen so quickly.

Mavens Consulting promptly picked up that gauntlet and slapped us in the face with it (virtually of course). We are excited to announce them as our first open source sponsor running challenges on CloudSpokes! Their first challenge, Toolkit for Google Analytics Admin App, will allow admins to configure the import of basic Google Analytics data into Salesforce without requiring them to write any custom Apex code. The winning entry will be distributed as part of the free, open source toolkit.

We look forward to seeing more challenges in the near future from Mavens Consulting. If your company is interested in running challenges that give back to the open source community, hit us up on @cloudspokes and we can talk.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Art Meets Text is now!

Appirio just announced their first implementation of the Art Meets Text challenge, in the form of - a caption contest based on Appirio's 2011 Dreamforce popart theme.  Congrats again to Kenji776 on his winning entry!

If you're attending Dreamforce, this is a great opportunity to win $1000 or tickets to Appirio's MoMA Party (co-sponsored by Caesars, Financial Force, and Zuora). More details from the popart page:

The Appirio Pop Art Contest

Enter a caption in the pop art image of your choice and submit the entry. It will create an image and submit it to our Pop Art Picassa Gallery. Get people to vote for your images and you can win tickets to our invite only Dreamforce MOMA event or even $1000 !!!

What is Pop Art?

American Pop Art was a product of the social revolution of the 1960's. It associated itself with everyday images of the populate that connected people, instead of the esoteric and closed word of the more classical predecessors. It's strongly linked with the rise and globalization of pop music and youth culture, epitomized by Elvis and the Beatles. Pop art was brash and fun and represented innovation without constraint and showed the power of connection people in a more open way.

Box joins as a CloudSpokes partner, with a new Mobile Developer Challenge!

We are thrilled to announce that has signed on as a CloudSpokes partner! Box is a simple, scalable and affordable solution to manage documents, media and all your content online. Share files as a link. Sync files on the desktop. It’s file sharing, reinvented. Box’s solutions are enterprise-focused, public cloud throughout, mobile-friendly, and API-enabled. Seriously, say no more, you had us at “hello”...

"We're excited to be working with CloudSpokes - we believe that their contest platform and community of developers will be immensely helpful in spurring innovation in the cloud." - Alex Willen, Developer Advocate, Box

In true Box fashion, we’re kicking things off with quite a bang.  Box recently announced their Mobile Developer Challenge with $35K in cash being awarded, and the core of the challenge described as follows:

“As more and more apps move to the cloud, we want to make it incredibly easy for developers to connect them to Box. To this end, we’re announcing some exciting updates to our mobile platform today, with the launch of two new API methods that support collaboration and content management for third party apps that leverage Box. We’re also upgrading our developer resources with an all-new Android library and an updated iOS library.”
On top of that, today they’re launching a contest exclusive to CloudSpokes in which they’re giving away $1,000 for the creation of a PHP library for their API. They’ll be holding several more contests over the next few months so be sure to check regularly.

Want to get started right now? 
  1. Read the announcement, and review the Box Mobile Dev Challenge
  2. Register for
  3. Find the specific Box challenges on the CloudSpokes Challenges page
  4. Sign up for the challenge, and use your credentials
  5. Go, and good luck!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Google Maps & Zillow Mashup Winners

We had a number of registrants but we've picked the three best submissions for our Google Maps & Zillow Mashup challenge. The contest was to create a mashup with Google Maps and Zillow to display location and property information for records in a custom object. The mashup allows you to enter a city and display all records from as points on the map. Clicking a point will display detailed Zestimate information from Zillow.

Romin - 1st Place

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Helperyadav - 2nd Place

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Varunkaushish - 3nd Place

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Super-Duper Challenge Service Winner!

At CloudSpokes we really love a challenge. The bigger the better. You could even say we like to super-size our challenges. We've had a number of challenges to build out our infrastructure on, but none of them bigger or more important than our CloudSpokes Challenge Service.

We were somewhat nervous about this challenge. The Challenge services is the heart of the CloudSpokes API. It's used for finding challenges, displaying their details, creating and editing them, adding prizes, managing reviewers and configuring categories. Essentially running the site.

We were hoping to have some really good code that we could roll into our production org. We received number of submissions and boy were we surprised at the quality!

Gackerjr has set the standard for Apex REST development with his first place submission! He encapsulated most of his functionality in Abstract classes that make modifications and reuse a snap. His submission also included 7 pages of documentation! Wow! One of our requirements was that the service "...must support pagination, complex variations for searching". Gackerjr implemented a flexible yet powerful means to query for challenges that should more than fit our needs. You can check out his code at our GitHub repo for our production CloudSpokes org.

Second place goes to romin. He's just started out with Apex but is really getting the hang of it. We look forward to more great submission from both gackerjr and romin.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Art Meets Text Winners on 3 Different Platforms!

Wow! Were we ever impressed with the number and quality of submissions for our Art Meets Text Mashup challenge.

The challenge was to create a public website that allows people to write clever text that displays on top of a few pre-chosen images - much like filling in your own captions to a comic strip. Cartoon images were then to be sent to a Picasa album allowing people to tweet and post them to other social media.

We left the challenge wide open on the technology to be used which created some really cool results. Our top three submissions used PHP, Heroku and

Third place was vinayendra with his PHP submission. You can watch the submission here.

Second place went to kzer95 with his ruby entry. We really liked the flow of kzer95's application and thought it was a great use of ruby.

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Kenji776's app came in first with a really slick admin UI making it super-simple to manage text areas, fonts, colors, etc. for the text bubbles.

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Congrats to everyone who participated and you'll be hearing more about the results of this challenge soon!

Recommendation Service Complete!

Our infrastructure challenges keep rolling on. Helperyadav has won our CloudSpokes Recommendation Services challenge taking the top prize of $750.

The challenge was to write an Apex REST service on to allow CloudSpokes members to submit recommendations for each other. Helperyadav's code will be rolled in with the other REST services and used to  build out our front end.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cloudsandra Admin Console Winner!

Guest Blogger: Kyle Roche

Kyle Roche, aka kyleisidorey on CloudSpokes, was the initiator of our first official CloudSpokes partnership. He has put up an great post on his blog, reviewing the results from one of their first challenges we posted, the Cloudsandra Admin Console - and we wanted to share.  Congrats to sindujaramaraj on the fantastic entry:

When we launched Cloudsandra a few weeks back, we kicked things off by sponsoring a few development contests on Cloudspokes. The next few posts, cover the winning submissions from the contests. This first contest entry was for the Admin Console contest...

I'm really pleased by the underlying architecture of the Admin Console we received; it's built using my favorite-of-the-moment language - Node.js! It uses the node-cloudsandra helper library available on github, and was deployed on Heroku. The CSS styling is really simple (and can throw you off from the more-than-functional console), but this is a good thing -- it can easily be integrated with any UI you're writing.

The first screen takes in your Cloudsandra login credentials:

The layout defaults to the first column family in your arsenal and would show indexes if we had any defined:

If we click on the Data tab, the row keys are defined in gray and respective data is shown in yellow:

If you click on a column value, or piece of data, you can Edit/Delete it:

Adding a new column family is as easy as clicking on tab, and inputting data into a modal form:

Adding a new indexed column:

To add data to a column family:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

If Romin Can Learn, So Can You!

Learning to develop on is fun! Just ask Romin.

Learning any new language isn't easy but Romin may have an advantage. First of all, Romin is a pretty decent Java developer... and by "pretty decent" I mean #awesome. According to his website, he's written 5 books, a ton of apps, and numerous tutorials on Google App Engine, APIs, mobile and other cloud technologies. I think it would be fair to say that Romin loves software like a fat kid loves cake.

Romin has won a number of CloudSpokes challenges but has never participated in anything for We've been running a lot of challenges lately for the new Apex REST services for and I guess they piqued his interest. Not only did he enter the CloudSpokes Participant Service but he blew it out of the water and won $500.

If you'd like to get participate in some of our Apex REST challenges, take a peak at this blog post to get started. My guess is that Romin visited this article a couple of times.

Congrats Romin!!

Upload Two Documents to at a time.... BRILLIANT!

Once again kenji776 produces an awesome solution to fix a common "problem" people face everyday with uploading documents one at a time is a tedious process. The native file attachment process does not support multiple file uploads, it is not particularly intuitive, requires one-by-one uploads, manual navigation to each file, doesn’t show all of the files uploaded until after completion, and makes the user to wait for a file to upload before another one can be uploaded.

We put out our Multi-file Uploader for challenge to hopefully solve these problems. Well kenji776 punched this challenge right in the face and walked away with its lunch money ($1000). Check out the video that he put together with his submission. Once again, congrats to kenji776 for great work!

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Monday, August 1, 2011

Announcing the #DF11 Mobile Party App Winners!

The recent Dreamforce® Mobile Party App Challenge has to be one of the coolest challenges we've posted to date. A mobile party app for the hottest cloud conference of the year - what's not to like about that?

Appirio sponsored this CloudSpokes challenge in order to provide the Dreamforce community with something that's been needed, requested even, but never before existed. And in the true flavor of giving something back to the community this project is open source (posting to github shortly).

This challenge was fairly open-ended both from a development and creativity standpoint - Appirio didn't want to restrict the app in any way with the challenge, wanting to see what the community came up with if the requirements were light.

Our $2,000 winner for the challenge is mbleigh, with his Heroku entry. It has all the elements, a super clean UI, and plays just oh-so-nice on all the mobile devices we've tested it on.

  • The app displays on a Heroku front end, with a Postrgres backend 
  • At the top-level you can view parties, with the ability to submit new parties
  • Deep dive into a party displays further information, as well as a map view so you head to the right place (Google Maps)
  • There's a view to "tweets" as well which can be set to an event's hashtag (in this case, #DF11)
  • Appirio is planning on announcing the app shortly, we'll link that from the blog once available!

Kenji776 came in a close second, and is walking away with $1000 for his creative Salesforce Sites submission.  Note that this win should put Kenji776 at the top of the CloudSpokes Leaderboard - a heck of an achievement for our most active member. Congrats Dan!

Neither the Dreamforce Mobile Party App Challenge nor this blog were sponsored by, inc.   DREAMFORCE is a trademark of and is used here with permission.