wowzapp zombieThe programmers at WOWZapp Vancouver sacrificed sleep for coding time and created some amazing apps. I had to share a couple of the many stories that inspired me, maybe they’ll inspire you as well.

I’m beginning to suspect that the WOW in WOWZapp is there for the reaction you have when you see the apps created in a single weekend. I spent this past weekend at WOWZapp Vancouver and was taken aback by the achievements of the weekend. I had to share a couple of stories that reminded me of what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it.

  • Donna – a VB programmer who had never built a mobile app or touched C# and XAML before the event and yet published an app for Windows 8 key shortcuts that is both useful and implements snap view and search to the store Sunday morning.
  • The Chicken Drop team – who started building a game in C# and XAML, and asked me Saturday night how to refresh a screen for the animation. I felt terrible when I had to tell them, that if you are trying to build a 2D animated game you should be using HTML5 & JavaScript with Canvas not C#/XAML. Undaunted, the team restarted the entire game and built a game overnight that ended up winning the Best Puzzle theme app award. They even coded the animations themselves! We made sure to tell them about CreateJS to make their next game or future game enhancements easier.
  • Jenny – the designer who had no programming experience, but was able to create the start and look of a stunning HTML5 & JavaScript application. She’ll need some help from a programmer to bring her app to completion, but when she does, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it as a featured app in the store.
  • Gabriel – who when he arrived thought he would build a simple flashlight app, but after our design keynote, chatted with his girlfriend and decided instead to build something bigger and better. When he presented his work on Sunday, one of the other developers raised his hand to ask the question on all our minds “did you really build all that this weekend?” When the answer was yes, the audience simply burst into spontaneous applause.
  • Michael – the remarkable 13 year old who had worked with Lego Mindstorm but had never actually tried programming who went home Saturday night and returned with his first app Sunday afternoon. I owe you a water bottle :)

The creators of BubbleBreak, Inkspell, LetterGo, Triviapp, Medicinal herbs, Smart student, the texting app (you know who you are!), Keno, the chemical lookup, the voting app, and to all the other developers I haven’t mentioned who sacrificed two days from their long weekend to dive into the world of Windows8! It was an absolute pleasure to see your ideas come to life and please tell me when they are published to the store so I can download them for myself!

Thank you to each and every one of you who participated: to the members of the BCIT team who allowed us to use their facilities, to Joe, Vlad, Ramez, Thomas, & Xinyang who helped with judging and helped the programmers through their hurdles and stumbling blocks, to Vanessa for taking care of so many little things, and to the event team who was there 24 hours a day to make sure everything ran smoothly, to IndoChino for their sponsorship of the prize for Best design, without all of you this could not have happened.

One final thought, if you are wondering what the Zapp in WOWZapp stands for, I think that describes the way you feel when it’s all over: zapped, a combination of exhaustion and satisfaction for a job well done.

Don’t forget to submit those cool apps to the store!