Thursday, April 26, 2012

Random Records with Ruby and Redis Winners

We we started thinking up our Quick Quizzes competition a couple of months ago and determined that we needed a way to randomly select questions for a participant and serve them up as JSON.

Since we use Redis for a number of features at CloudSpokes we thought this would be a perfect use for it. So we spun up for Random Records with Ruby and Redis challenge and had three awesome submissions. Building this component was perfect for a CloudSpokes challenge. We simply wanted to store records in Redis and then randomly fetch x records from our Rails site as JSON and pipe them into another service.

Take a peek at the video and demo apps that our CloudSpokers submitted. Some pretty slick stuff! Congrats!

trineo - video & demo application
Place: 1
Money: $500
darthdeus - demo application
Place: 2
Money: $250
mbleigh - video
Place: 2
Money: $250

Friday, April 20, 2012

Better Know a CloudSpoker - Shashidhar Gurumurthy

Welcome to another installment of our "Better Know a CloudSpoker" series where we interview community members so that you can put a name with a face and gain a little insight. This week I interviewed Shashidhar Gurumurthy (aka sgurumurthy), one of our earliest and favorite members, on such topics as travel, the weather, his hobbies and even some technology.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Better Stump a CloudSpoker: Write Your Own Quick Quiz Questions!

Have you ever had a wicked desire to confound and humble your peers?  Well, here's your chance!  One of the improvements we've made to Quick Quizzes is the ability for anyone to submit their own question, which will be reviewed by fellow CloudSpokes members.  As an added incentive, we'll even pay you $100 for every 10 questions you submit that are approved!  And don't worry, submitting questions does not disqualify you from participating in Quick Quizzes; we'll make sure you don't get presented with questions you wrote or reviewed.

So what are you waiting for?  Just log into CloudSpokes, click on the account button, and click on the "submit a question" link on the left side of the page (or just click on this link to go straight there).  Then write some crafty quiz questions that will challenge other members and prove your own cleverness!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Create Salesforce Content From Attachments Winners!

Here at CloudSpokes we wanted to create an easy way for users to move existing attachments to Salesforce content, so the "let's make it a challenge lightbulb" flashed on and just like, that this challenge was created!

The task for this challenge was to create a Visualforce page and Apex controller that is accessed from a "Move Attachments to Content" button on a standard page layout. The page had to display all of the attachments for the referring record and display checkboxes for all attachment plus "Select All" functionality. The SFDC user would then be able to select the Library for the attachments and click submit, adding the attachments to Content for the specified Library.

We had many great submissions for this challenge, with the three winners scoring 100, 98 and 97 respectively, but ultimately Corycowgill does the discount double check and takes home the title belt for this challenge. Check out the three winners video submissions below, and as always, congrats to all of those CloudSpokers who participated!

Corycowgill - Video
Place: 1
Money: $500
avidev9 - Video
Place: 2
Money: $200
logontokartik - Video 1 & Video 2
Place: 3
Money: $100

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Winners - Build a DynamoDB Demo, #AWS reblog

Our own Jeff Douglas recently posted a guest blog over on the Amazon Web Services Blog highlighting the winners from the Build an #Awesome Demo with Amazon DynamoDB challenge, and we simply must share it here to showcase some of the amazing results from that contest.

You can see the full post below, or head over to the AWS blog to read it there!

Last November, CloudSpokes was invited to participate in the DynamoDB private beta. We spent some time kicking the tires, participating in the forums and developing use cases for their Internet-scale NoSQL database service. We were really excited about the possibilities of DynamoDB and decided to crowdsource some challenge ideas from our 38,000 strong developer community. Needless to say, the release generated quite a bit of buzz.

When Amazon released DynamoDB in January, we launched our CloudSpokes challenge Build an #Awesome Demo with Amazon DynamoDB along with a blog post and a sample ”Kiva Loan Browser Demo” application to get people started. The challenge requirements were wide open and all about creating the coolest application using Amazon DynamoDB. We wanted to see what the crowd could come up with.

The feedback we received from numerous developers was extremely positive. The API was very straightforward and easy to work with. The SDKs and docs, as usual, were top-notch. Developers were able to get up to speed fast as DynamoDB’s simple storage and query methods were easy to grasp. These methods allowed developers to store and access data items with a flexible number of attributes using the simple “Put” or “Get” verbs that they are familiar with. No surprise here, but we had a number of comments regarding the speed of both read and write operations.

When our challenge ended a week later we were pleasantly surprised with the applications and chose to highlight the following top five:

1st Place (tie) - Wcheung (Canada) submitted Flickr on DynamoDB (video - code) which is a Grails application that caches Flickr photos in Amazon DynamoDB. You can then search for cached feed entries by primary key (author + published date/time range) or by table scan.  You can also “like” a photo, resulting in the atomic “like” counter for the item in DynamoDB getting incremented:

1st Place (tie) - Mbleigh (US) submitted Posterity (video - code), a simple, barebones Twitter-esque service created in Ruby using Sinatra. It is far from complete but uses a number of DynamoDB's key features including Hash/Range Keys and Atomic Set Push Operations:

2nd Place - Darthdeus (Czech Republic) wrote his AWS DynamoDB Task Management app (demo - video - code) in Ruby using Sinatra. It uses a custom ORM he wrote called DynamoRecord to access DynamoDB. His main idea was to get at least some of the ActiveRecord-ish API to DynamoDB using some basic metaprogramming:

3rd Place - Peakpado (US) created a Simple Survey (video - code) application using Ruby on Rails. For each table he created a sophisticated hask/range key model class which resulted in an API very similar to ActiveRecord for DynamoDB:

4th Place - Romin (India) developed an API (demo - code) that exposes data sets of Mumbai city in JSON format. The solution uses Amazon DynamoDB for storing the data and a NodeJS application that exposes the REST interface and talks to Amazon DynamoDB via a backend Java application.

Make sure you take a look videos and code for each application and then start building your own on Amazon DynamoDB. Check out the Getting Started with Amazon DynamoDB guide or Amazon DynamoDB to get started.

Community Evangelist

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Winners - Salesforce Home Page Messages

Salesforce lets its customers and users know when they're about to release or have released new features - so why can't we?

This challenge called for a framework to provide a way for an administrator to display an easily customizable message on the Salesforce Home page with details on new features and system notifications (or anything else "notification worthy").

almopeluche took first place and $750 (his second win!) with this elegant solution which supports HTML, and provides a checkbox option to allow the user to dismiss the message permanently. almopeluche also used a custom object in his design to track user sessions and provided multi-language support! The addition of an unmanaged package would have been the icing on the cake for this excellent submission:

chiragmehta84 came in second and took $350 with this equally elegant submission. The UI and rich text option helped set this submission apart from the rest of the competition:

antenna rounded out third and took $200 for his solid submission - check the video below!

Congrats to all the winners!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cloudstock San Francsico - Recap

We had the pleasure of attending Salesforce's Cloudstock in San Francisco about a month ago to get the scoop on the latest developer tools Salesforce is working on. We're always curious about what's in the queue so that we can get great ideas for challenges, as well as keep the CloudSpokes platform itself as highly optimized as possible. We must tip our hats to Adam Seligman and the Salesforce developer team for another excellent conference.

Some of the best computer science in the industry is coming directly from this area, but one of our top highlights was the announcement around Java Templates for Heroku. To try these out, just head to and click "Create App" (gotta love that). 

Dave Messinger and Jeff Douglas on the DocuSign Panel
We also were able to join in DocuSign's Developer Panel regarding the partner effort of architecting the DocuSign eSignature REST API. We were very fortunate to be invited to participate in the design earlier this year. Mike Borozdin and the rest of the developer team at DocuSign have some very cool stuff in the works (stay tuned).

For more info, check out Salesforce's recap video below (with two special appearances from our very own Jeff Douglas!)

Friday, April 6, 2012

Better Know a CloudSpoker - William Cheung

Welcome to another installment of our series where we interview CloudSpokes members and see what makes them tick. This week I interviewed William Cheung (aka wcheung) all the way from beautiful Toronto to see how he got started, what technologies excite him and delve into his passion for Latin.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

CloudSpokes Chrome Extension is Here!

Have you heard?!? It's the best news ever!

The CloudSpokes extension is now available in the Google Chrome Web Store! Yes, we here at CloudSpokes are pretty excited too, and we think that this is some of the best news we've heard all week! Even better than the appearance by Ron Burgundy on Conan and his surprise announcement of the Anchorman sequel!

But before you go screaming it from the rooftops, or get out of your seat and jump in the street like the Action 4 News team, lets break this incredible news down and take a closer look at what this means for all you CloudSpokers out there.  

This handy little extension will provide access to open challenges, recently completed challenges, current leaderboard status, member & challenge search functionality as well as payment owed information.  The extension can be found and installed here. Check out this screen shot for an idea of its visual layout.

We know we aren't perfect, and that there might be some bugs or enhancements needed. Therefore once you have added the CloudSpokes extension, we invite you to fork the repo, make your changes and send us a pull request. We will be offering special CloudSpokes badges to those CSers who make the coolest and most useful tweaks. The code is available here for you to make your hacks! There's also a list of enhancements to get you started.

So get out there and start enjoying this awesome new CloudSpokes toy, and best of luck to you all in making it even cooler!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Weighted Round Robin Assignment Engine - Winners

Imagine this situation, if you will: A fictional company is preparing a new promotional event that it expects to generate a significant number of new leads. In parallel, they are planning to roll out a new weighted round robin program to ensure that their top producers receive the most leads by number, but also that leads are fairly distributed to the rest of the team.

To do this, the Sales Manager assigns each team member a weighting factor. They kick-off the promotional event and their top producers are happy! Halfway through the event, one member of the team steps up his/her contribution. As a result, the Sales Manager increases the weighting factor for that individual.

This challenge sought to define the assignment engine that would allow this process. The engine would determine a way to assign new leads and opportunities to those sales members. All while still distributing leads fairly to the rest of the sales team.

After many great submissions, peakpado takes the cake on this challenge with eszulc coming in hot and snagging second place. Make sure to check out peakpado's first place submission video below! As always, congrats to all of those who submitted!

1st place

Monday, April 2, 2012

In The News: 3 Ways APIs are Changing IT Consulting

 SiliconAngle - Klint Finley

...Dave Messinger, chief architect and evangelist for CloudSpokes at Appirio, agrees with Pisoni and points out that most “custom” solutions that customers build are really not as custom as they’d like to think. “In software development, code re-use is a holy grail,” he says. “APIs take this to a whole new level.” SIs are now turning to integration-as-a-service providers like e SnapLogic, Talend and Informatica to make integration go quicker and easier...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Taking a Break from March Madness...Quick Quizzes Will Be Back Soon!

The competition has been exciting, with the final outcome sometimes determined in the final seconds of play...of course, we're talking about the CloudSpokes QuickQuizzes but we hear there were some other competitions that were pretty exciting too.

We've been thrilled with the great interest and participation in QuickQuizzes so far, and we really appreciate all the feedback on the format, the interface, and the questions themselves.  In order to incorporate all of your feedback and implement some needed improvements, QuickQuizzes will be going on a break for the next couple of weeks.  But don't worry, all other challenges will continue as normal and QuickQuizzes will be back and better than ever on April 18th*.  The $1,000 in daily QuickQuiz prizes will also resume at that time, and continue through at least the end of April.

Thanks again for all your participation, and if you have any questions or additional suggestions about QuickQuizzes you can contact us here.

* Yes, this is also the day after Tax Day in the U.S., so all you American CloudSpokers can try to make back some of the money you just sent to Uncle Sam!