Friday, October 26, 2012

Put down Eclipse, and show us your Design skills

As a startup, we have our work cut out for us when it comes to positioning, broadcasting, branding, and just simply getting the "CloudSpokes" name out there. We go to numerous conferences every year, from Defrag, to Gluecon, to Dreamforce, to AWS re: Invent, to even Gartner Symposium, and more...

Every single day we're preaching the power of the community, giving presentations, delivering sessions, and showcasing all the amazing work the community creates to anyone who will listen. What we need though, is a proper presentation platform to get it done on. This time, we don't need code, we need design.

An example "CloudSpokes-themed" PowerPoint slide

We've posted design challenges in the past, but this is likely our first true graphic design challenge. We want to see what this powerful community can create with a little bit of Keynote or PowerPoint, some Pixelmator or Photoshop, and a ton of creativity.

We're not going to limit you to a design schema or a pre-defined color palette, your canvas is clear and it's up to you to decide what's best. This really is no easy task though - creating something polished, while still easy-to-use, is incredibly complicated. 

Good luck, and stay tuned for more design challenges!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Getting Started with AngularJS Winners!

We like to keep things cool here at CloudSpokes, and we think the best way to do that is to have some #superfrickinawesome challenges! To make sure that our challenges are up to par with what the cool kids are doing, we send Jeff out on recon missions to infiltrate local hipster communities, and report back to us with what the newest and coolest trends are. After his latest mission, we found out that AngularJS is all the rage with the cool kids right now.  So we decided, this was a great opportunity to get your feet wet by building something simple and fun with AngularJS!

For those of you who aren't familiar yet with AngularJS, Angular is an open-source MVC JavaScript framework, which simplifies web development by offering automatic view/model synchronization. Pretty slick right?

For this challenge, we definitely had a lot of interest, and ended up getting some really awesome submissions. Robertojrojas went above and beyond the call of duty and scored a perfect 100, with aproxacs coming in second with scoring a 95! Check out the first place submission video below and keep your eye out for more AngularJS challenges in the future!

Place: 1
Money: $750

Place: 2
Money: $250

Thursday, October 11, 2012 Canvas App with Java Winners!

We recently launched a series of challenges for the new Canvas framework, so obviously we were going to get some great apps!

This challenge was specific to Java, and we asked you to show off your skillz in a pretty open ended challenge. We also had this running all the way through Dreamforce 2012 so there was a lot of time to get familiar with the new release.

We had a few really good submissions and one perfect score from the clear winner, Enreeco had a really slick submission with a great video to document it. Rounding out the winners was robertojrojas who is also our current member of the month!

Check out the video by Enreeco below and keep an eye out for the winners of the rest of the challenges in this series!

Also, make sure to check out our featured challenge of the month right now, sponsored by Personal, and their guest blog written by Alex Levin!

Place: 1
Money: $500

Place: 2
Money: $250

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Guest Blogger - Code Your Way to Dreamforce International Winner

Guest Blogger: Naveen Gabrani

Naveen is the CEO of Astrea IT Services and the International winner of  our “Code your way to Dreamforce” competition that we launched over the summer sending two lucky developers to Dreamforce and in great fashion. After an extremely tight race for 30 days, Naveen was determined to be our International Winner and ended up accomplishing his goal. We couldn't just let that be the end of it, so we asked Naveen to author a Guest Blog for us and luckily he agreed! 

Since the beginning of July many of our customers were asking me “Are you going to be at Dreamforce”? So when CloudSpokes announced “Code your way to Dreamforce”, I was very excited about it. I had to put in numerous late nights and weekends during the contest. The competition was intense with at least three participants having a very good shot at winning the coveted title until the very end. Fortunately my scores ended up marginally higher and I managed to win the very keenly contested competition. 

Attending your first Dreamforce is once in a lifetime experience. This year there were more than ninety thousand registrants. There is something for everyone at Dreamforce – the keynotes introducing major products announcements and customer case studies, hands on tutorials, display of hundreds of path-breaking partner solutions at the Cloud Expo, developer zone with developer theatre, late night parties. It was also rumoured that Endeavour’s historic flight over San Francisco on Dreamforce Friday was planned by Marc Benioff. 

For me the most exciting part of the conference was attending the keynotes and meeting people. It was extremely enriching and energizing to hear from visionaries like General Colin Powel, Jeff Immelt, Marc Benioff, Sir Richard Branson and Anthony Robbins. The main keynote by Marc Benioff and Platform keynote were especially interesting.

Many of our customers we have been supporting for couple of years now, and it was great to meet them for the first time at Dreamforce. Dreamforce turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to meet our partners, customers and also make some new friends. 

Salesforce made many key announcements at the event. The biggest of these were – 
  1. Launch of Marketing cloud a completely new offering based upon Salesforce acquisition of Radian 6 and Buddy Media. With time this is expected to become a market leader like the Sales Cloud.
  2. Making Salesforce touch enabled – this represents a new paradigm in Enterprise applications. Salesforce will be enabling features over the next year or so that will enable touch enabled apps on the platform. 
  3. Launch of – a performance management system built using Salesforce acquisition of Rypple.
  4. Chatterbox will allow storing and sharing of files across the Enterprise similar to Dropbox.
  5. Chatter Communities will allow organizations to collaborate with customers and partners using Chatter.
The CloudSpokes team was extremely supportive before and during the event. All the expenses including those expensive long distance flights, the stay at my hotel in San Francisco, my Dreamforce registration, as well as a $500 visa giftcard, were taken care by CloudSpokes. It definitely made all the effort spent in the contests for “Code your way to Dreamforce” worth it.

Thank you CloudSpokes!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Guest Blogger - A Developer's Diary

Guest Blogger: Kartik Viswanadha

Kartik Viswanadha, aka logontokartik has been an active member of CloudSpokes for quite a while now, and is an excellent representation of the quality of members we have in the community. Kartik, who hails from New Hampshire, spent many sleepless nights competing to win the competition and wasn't afraid to say it... he wanted to WIN! Well, all that hard work paid off as he was announced as our Code Your Way to Dreamforce winner for the US! Kartik was a VIP for the week and also won big at the Dev Zone, competing in and winning multiple mini hacks, scoring a Nexus 7 along the way! So with that being said, a final congrats to Kartik on his accomplishment, and keep an eye out for his name in the future as he continues to climb the CloudSpokes leader-boards!

Dreamforce 2012 - A Developer's Diary

Something really amazing happened 3 weeks ago. The most productive week of the year, Dreamforce 2012. I had only heard of Dreamforce before, this being my 1st time attending, and had heard rumors of its grandeur . I now know why it's so famous! I could literally see all the hard work and dedication the Salesforce guys (and gals) put in to make this event a grand success. It is no wonder Forbes chose as the most innovative company and Marc Beinoff as the most successful entrepreneur!

First off, let me thank CloudSpokes for making my dream of going Dreamforce come true. If it wasn't for the idea of Code Your Way to Dreamforce, I wouldn't have even thought about attending DF12. It wasn't just conducting the competition either, but too the way they treated the winner (me.. of course.) as a VIP throughout Dreamforce!

In a nutshell, Dreamforce for me was like a carnival. With all the keynotes like magic shows, and the presenters as the magicians. No doubt the best magician is Marc Benioff, his speech was not only mesmerizing but also inspirational. 

My most memorable moments were at Developer Zone however. It was like a roller coaster ride with all sorts of sessions, mini-hacks, trivia, un-conference, etc. And most importantly, everyone there was a developer-nerd-hacker-genius! Needless to say, it was overall really fun. It is also where I ran into my fellow Code Your Way winner, Naveen Gabrani!

Naveen and Kartik in the Dev Zone at #DF12

A few highlights from the week had to be:
  • The keynotes - I attend only 2, main keynote & developer keynote. To wrap them up in just one word: AWESOME.  
  • CloudSpokes Developer Meetup - Thanks to the meetup happy hour I can now connect faces to the Twitter handles of the CloudSpokes team as well as my fellow CloudSpokers and chit-chatting about... politics. What else would we talk about after all ;)
  • Appirio After Dark Party - Again, thanks to CloudSpokes for getting me a special VIP pass for the party. I got to enter without standing in queue and had special ultra VIP lounge access. Here I connected with more developers, and shared stories. Over drinks of course!
  • Developer Zone Mini-hacks - Felt really good to sit down in middle of the madness at Dev Zone, break my knuckles and hack some code, plus I won a Nexus 7!!
  • Developer Sessions - I attended more than 10 different developer sessions, and all were rocking. 
  • Last but not least, beautiful San Francisco! I loved walking the streets of downtown SF and taking it all in! 
I want to also give special mentions and thanks to Daniel Llewellun, Dan Appleman, Pat Patterson, Sandeep Bhanot, Cory Cowgill, of course the whole CloudSpokes team, as well as many more! You'll have to excuse my bad memory!

Overall, it was a great and unforgettable week. Way to go Salesforce, and way to go Cloudspokes!! I can't wait to do it all again next year!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Guest Blogger: Why Build on the Personal Platform?

Guest Blogger: Alex Levin

Alex Levin is the Director of Apps & Strategy at Personal. He is currently helping developers take advantage of the newly launched Personal Platform, and promoting the $5K developer challenge Personal is hosting on CloudSpokes to thank the developers building on Personal in October.

I want to first thank CloudSpokes for inviting me to write a guest blog to talk about the launch of the Personal Platform. I considered writing about some of the many developers (over 175 already) building apps on the Personal Platform, but I will let their apps speak for themselves when they launch. I want to instead take this opportunity to give a little background about why we think the Personal Platform is going to be transformative.

The Genesis of Personal
In 2009 five friends were afraid to put their sensitive information online; social security documents, the passwords to their bank accounts, records of a recent health scare, photos they wanted no one to see all stayed offline. These friends did not want to be subjected to consistent misuses of user data, password leaks, data breaches, "anonymous" online tracking, and overt spying just to have access to cloud storage, social sharing and the latest cool app. So Shane, Edin, Doug, Tarik and Jen founded Personal to build themselves and their families a legitimate option for privately and securely managing all the most information in their lives online.

Fast forward to today. The Personal Platform and our easy-to-implement REST API are live. You can now create an application that lets users snap pictures of their family's important documents (including birth certificates, social security cards, passports, IDs and health insurance), and use Personal to encrypt them in the cloud. Then your app can use Personal to let users securely share individual documents with the travel agents, financial advisors or other trusted contacts that need them.

Why Developers use the Personal Platform
We built a platform that worries about privacy and security so you can spend your valuable resources on building your app and growing your business. Use the now-standard OAuth flow to authenticate your users to Personal, store their information in our 256-bit AES encrypted cloud, share with our RSA 2048 asymmetric key encryption, slap the "Powered by Personal" badge on your app to validate to consumers your use of Personal's security and privacy best-practices to end-users and to differentiate from other apps in your industry.

The Personal Platform is different from anything that exists. Information users put in Personal is theirs (see the Owner Data Agreement). And Personal can never see the information because we do not store users' password. We are very proud to have been the first company to go through the process to because a Privacy by Design Organizational Ambassador. There are now ten organizations including DuckDuckGo certified by Privacy by Design.

$5K Developer Challenge
We want to thank the developers building on the Personal API in October by putting up $2.5K on CloudSpokes for the best apps that help parents manage their information, and another $2.5K for apps that help anyone manage personal information in the office (this will run Oct 17-31). Have fun with the CloudSpokes challenges, and feel free to reach out to me through

To get access to the Personal Platform register for a Mashery account and request a Personal API Key