Developer Challenge at Open Repositories 2011 (Austin, Texas)

DevCSI will once again be organising the Developer Challenge at Open Repositories 2011 (Austin, Texas, USA)!

JISC has been supporting a ‘Developer Challenge’ for the Open Repositories (OR) conference for a number of years. Last year, DevCSI (JISC funded) issued a ‘Developer Challenge’ for OR10 which was quite specific. This year, for OR11, DevCSI have decided to open this up again, but with a couple of small ‘twists’.

The Challenge

In 2009, you were asked to “Show Us the Future of Repositories”. In the world of open repositories there has been a lot of development since 2009, so we’ve decided to pose this overarching challenge to developers once more:

Show Us the Future of Repositories‘.

However, we are also going to be offering two special additional prizes.


Firstly, we are aware of exciting developments going on using the SWORD protocol. For this reason, we’ll be offering a special additional prize for the most innovative use of SWORD in an open-repositories context. Please note that any entries that are using SWORD can also be entered for the main challenge above.

For more information about SWORD, please see:

Microsoft Research

Secondly, as this year’s challenge is kindly being supported by Microsoft Research, they are going to award an additional prize to any  developers who submit an entry to the challenge that makes an innovative use of Microsoft technologies. This can be anything from Zentity, SharePoint repository integration, Microsoft Translator, Windows Azure cloud storage, Microsoft Academic Search, Word, PivotViewer, Kinect etc. Visit the Dreamspark site for free access to a wide array of developer tools.  Again, any entries that are using Microsoft Technologies can also be entered for the main challenge above.

For more information about some of these technologies see:

The tag for the challenge is:

#or11dev and #devcsi

Contact for the Challenge

Mahendra Mahey

How do I get involved in the Developer Challenge?

The deadline

We have decided to announce the challenge before the conference, with just under a month to go, you will have plenty time to start working on your entry now, up to the deadline for entry, which will be Thursday 9th June 2011, at 3pm (GMT – 6).

How you enter

Individuals / Teams must post their entry / idea / intention to enter using the OR11 Crowdvine Discusion Forum – Developer Challenge section.  Please put your: name, where you work, the name of the entry and if possible a URI to more information about your entry. If you don’t already have an account, you will need to register first on  The idea of using OR11 Crowdvine is so that you can get other people who are attending the conference to be actively involved in what you are creating, e.g. get feedback on the ideas, user testing etc, promote your entry and cheer you on when you are presenting!

Please note, you will be required to present your entry to an audience on Thursday 9th June between 5.15 – 6pm (GMT – 6), see the ‘Show and Tell’ section.

The Developer Lounge

If you are attending OR11, why enjoy the specially prepared ‘Developer Lounge’ which is comfortable, has good wireless and power to help you develop your winning entry at the conference. We are organising some presentations from previous winners in this room, there will be opportunities to speak to potential judges, previous prize winners who can talk about your entries. Also there will be time to practice your ‘pitch’ to others before the Thursday ‘Show and Tell’ session.

The “Developer Lounge” will be in the Carillon Private Dining rooms 1&2 at the conference venue, just follow the ‘Developer Lounge Footsteps’. The lounge will be available from:

Tuesday 7th June to Thursday 9th June 2011 (3pm)

The lounge opens each day at 10am and closes at 10pm. On the final day, Thursday, it will close at 3pm.

The lounge is a ‘flexible’ space, so you are encouraged to attend other exciting parts of the conference at this time if you so wish and even promote your entry to other delegates. The lounge is intended to support those who are entering the challenge, you can treat this place as your little ‘base’ for the event and you can use it as a chance to talk to other developers, exchange ideas, talk tech, get advice etc. The room will have flip charts, a projector, caffeine, snacks, wireless, lots of power sockets, a pitching area, video cameras, etc. Designed for geeks!

Sessions at the Developer Lounge

We will be running several sessions in the lounge, but will run this flexibly depending on interest and time.

Meet the judges
A chance to chat to the judges for the challenge and for them to give developers informal feedback on what they are doing. Please let us know if you are interested in doing this.

Meet the conference delegates
We have invited the conference delegates to come into the Developer Lounge space to see what developers are doing, to chat to them, even give them ideas and feedback. Please let us know if you are interested in doing this.

How to pitch properly
A chance to practice your pitch ready for the presentation on Thursday in the ‘Show and Tell’ sessions.  We have some useful guidelines, tips and tricks to make your presentation look slick and professional. Please let us know if you are interested in doing this you can even watch yourself back and see what you need to do to improve!

Feedback on your ideas
Organisers of the challenge will be on hand to give you advice, support and feedback on your ideas to ensure it is focussed on the challenge.

I have problem…
Are you working on the challenge and you need some help. Tell what it is and if we can’t help, we will try and find someone that can.

I have an idea but I am not sure if it is any good
If you have an idea, and want to discuss with us, please do and we can give you honest feedback, whether it meets the challenge, whether it is too ambitious, or needs bolstering.

Show and Tell

All the submitted entries for the challenge will be asked to present their entry to an audience of conference delegates and a panel of judges, between 5.15pm – 6pm (GMT – 5) on Thursday 9th June, 2011, at the AT&T amphitheater 203. Free drinks and snacks will be available from 4.45pm -5.15pm. Depending on the number of entries, there maybe time for questions about your entry. There maybe the possibility of giving your presentation remotely, but it will have to be done live (please liaise with Mahendra Mahey if you intend to do this). Audience reaction to each entry will be noted.

Once all the submissions have been presented, the panel of judges will be left to retire to make their final decisions.

Prizes for the Developer Challenge at Open Repositories 11

The prizes will be awarded at the OR 11 conference dinner on Thursday the 9th June, 2011, from 7pm (GMT -6). There will be a first prize and runner up for the main challenge sharing an award of $2000.

There will be two additional prizes for:

  • The most innovative use of SWORD in an open repositories context- $500
  • The most innovative use of Microsoft Technologies in an open repositories context. The Microsoft Research prize will be some Microsoft Tech – likely to be an XBOX360 and Kinect.


1. Entries should come from at least one developer though teams are welcome.
2.  The entries should be presented in person, at OR11. If a team is entering, not all of the team members need be present at the conference, but at least one team-member should be. Remote presentations would be considered in exceptional circumstances (you will need to liaise with Mahendra Mahey), but these will need to be given ‘live’ during the ‘Show n Tell’ session, see above.
3.  Individuals / Teams must register their entry / idea / intention to enter / using the OR11 Crowdvine Discusion Forum – Developer Challenge section. If  you haven’t already, you will need to create an account to do this, see,, click “create an account” and then fill out your profile.
4. Individuals / Teams can enter before the conference and may change their idea/entry up to the deadline which is 3pm (GMT – 5 hours), Thursday 9th June, 2011.
5.  Prototypes do not have to be working code, mock interfaces are acceptable, though working code is obviously preferable and will judged more favourably.
6. Prototypes should primarily be presented as user interfaces, not as bullet points or architectural diagrams.
7. If the prototype consists of only mock interfaces (e.g. “photoshopped” or a “paper prototype”), then there should be a brief explanation of how the interface could be built using a particular code base / architecture.
8. New code for prototypes is encouraged, though previous written code is allowed to be used.
9. The same code may be used in multiple prototypes, sharing of code is encouraged.
10. No code is off limits for use so long as it is legally used, third party libraries, applications and web services are fair game.
11. Participants must ensure that entries do not in any way infringe copyright or other intellectual property rights of any third party.

Judges and Judging Criteria

The judges for the Developer Challenge for OR11 will be:

Balviar Notay (JISC and Chair of Judges)
Wolfram Horstmann (Bielefeld University, Germany)
Dorthea Salo (University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA)
Elin Stangeland (Cambridge University Library, UK)
Sarah Fuchs (Georgia Tech Library, USA)
Richard Jones (Chair of SWORD Challenge and Cottage Labs, UK)
Alex Wade (Chair of Microsoft Research Challenge, Microsoft Research, UK)
William Nixon (University of Glasgow Library, UK)
Sarah Shreeves (University of Illinois @Urbana-Champaign, USA)

The judging process will use the following methodology:

  • Judges will agree on the top two prototypes and recommend a winner and a runner up. They will also decide on a winning prototype for the most innovative use of SWORD and use of Microsoft Technology. An entry can win a prize for the SWORD and/or Microsoft Technology category and the overall prize.
  • When entries are marked, if a consensus cannot be reached, then the chair of the judging panel will be responsible for the final decision.
  • A representative from JISC/DevCSI will oversee the judging process.
  • The evaluation criteria for the competition are: innovative, visionary, relevance to the user problems, coolness, usability, plausibility for adoption, functionality and overall fit to the challenge.

Awarding of Prizes

  • The main prize and runner up prize money will be divided equally between each person.
  • The secondary prizes for SWORD and Microsoft Technology can also be awarded the main prize.
  • The prize must be spent on the travel, board and expenses on attending a conference related to developer activity, e.g. JISC’s Dev8D, O’Reilly Tools of Change, ApacheCon, OR11, etc.
  • The winners / runners up must be willing to participate in a post meeting interview about the submission and future ideas for development.
  • The winners / runners up must be willing to have their name and picture published by DevCSI.
  • The winners / runners up must be willing to write brief documentation about the submission to aid others in building on the work. The documentation will publicised by DevCSI.


Previous Challenges

The Developer Challenge at Open Repositories 2011 builds on the success of the previous three software developer competitions that have been held at Open Repositories:

Background to the Challenge

Each year a significant proportion of the delegates at Open Repositories are software developers who work on repository software or related services.

For the last three years they have been invited to participate and submit entries to a ‘challenge’. A space in the conference has been set-aside at the start, ‘The Developer Lounge’, a flexible space where developers can work on their entries but also attend specific parts of the conference. A deadline has been set where they submit their entries. These are then short-listed by pre-determined criteria and some entries are awarded special recognition.



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