logo The deadline to submit your entry for the Imagine Cup in the UK is approaching fast!!! You have to do it by 11.59 p.m. on 18th December 2009!

I did receive a few questions on how to properly submit, so here is a brief overview on how to do it.

If you already registered a team and completed all the “administrative” steps, jump to the Step 4: COMPETE later in this post!

Step 1: Register on the Imagine Cup website

First of all you need to register to the http://imaginecup.co.uk website by clicking on the Register link at the top of the page. This will take you to a page where you will be asked to create a user name and password (which you will need afterwards to login to the site) and enter a few profile information. When you do this make sure you choose Student as a Participant Type and you confirm that you are indeed attending a school and provide its name!


Step 2: Complete your profile

Once you have done this you will have a user account on the site and you will then need to sign up for the competition. In this case we will sign up for the Software Design competition.

You can do this on the page that is shown right after you registered or (if you already registered but not signed up for a competition) go to https://imaginecup.com/UpdateProfile.aspx. Here you can select the competition you want to sign up to:


After you do this you need to provide some more information about yourself. Make sure you fill all the fields here to be able to compete!


In the meantime you should have received an email to confirm your email address which will look like this:

You need to confirm your email address by clicking on the link before you can compete!


Step 3: Create a team

In order to compete you need to create a team! Once your profile is complete, you can do this by going to your profile page (https://imaginecup.com/UpdateProfile.aspx) and clicking on the Software Design link. You will see that now you have a button called “Create Team”. Simply click it and you will get to a page where you need to fill a few forms.

In the team information you need to pick a name for your team, a location and add team members (but you can do this at a later stage if you want).


Then you need to provide a team address. This address is only shown to your other team members and us and we may need this in case we need to send you stuff…


Then you can fill the last three forms with your links, photos and a logo if you have one (again, you can do this at a later stage if you want).


Once you have done this, you need to link your profile to a Live ID. A Live ID is the account you use for Xbox Live, Messenger, Hotmail or to access any other Microsoft Services. In case you don’t have one, you can get it here https://signup.live.com.

To link your Live ID, go to the competition page (clicking on Software Design from https://imaginecup.com/UpdateProfile.aspx) then click on the “Link Live ID” button, fill the login form and click on Sign In:


Then confirm your Imagine Cup email address (the one you used to register on Step 1) and click on Link Accounts:


Step 4: COMPETE!!!

To do this, first of all download the Word template to describe your entry http://webaka.com/Documents/SDI%20Submission%20Doc.zip.

In this document you need to provide us your team name (the one you created in Step 3), all the members names and email addresses, the name of your application (if this is different from your team name) and the name of your mentor. We ask you to do this because you may not have added them to the website yet and so we can have the information right away!

Here is a sample of how this can be filled:


Now the administrative part is done and we’re off to the fun part!!! In the rest of the document you should describe:

The problem you are trying to address

Be as comprehensive as possible! Use your own words to describe it and try to have other people reading the description to make sure they understand it! This is very important because a good problem definition goes a long way towards a good quality of the entry!

The concept behind your solution

Here as well try to be as comprehensive as possible. Ask other people to read it and try to figure out if they do understand how you are trying to solve the problem. Make sure that what you describe here addresses the problem you specified above in a clear way! I have seen some entries in the past where we could not understand how the concept addressed the problem which is not a good thing to see!

Application Overview

Here you should describe how the application works, what kind of technology you will be using, how the users will interact with the application, etc. Basically all the “technical” bits should go here!


Again, my recommendation is to have other people (not just your team members) and your mentor reading the entry and telling you what they think! Ask them to try to explain both the problem and the solution (and the architecture too)! If they are able to then you have a good entry!

If you can use diagrams and pictures that is always a good idea of course but don’t just use a diagram!

Required components

It is important to mention that your solutions must fulfil some technical requirements. Here they are:

You must implement and/or consume a XML web service

If you implement yours that is great, but you could (for example) consume one provided by services such as Flickr or Twitter!

Your application must run on any version of the Microsoft .NET Framework

This means that you may target .NET 2.0 or 3.0 or 3.5. If it runs on ANY OF THOSE you are ok! You are NOT required to make it work with ALL version at the same time!

Your application must be developed using at least one (1) of the products within the Visual Studio family (Express, Standard, Professional, or Team System) for development

The easiest place to get those for students in the UK is Dreamspark (http://www.dreamspark.com) or if your university has is MSDN-AA (ask your department if they provide it)

Your entry must contain or use features of at least one (1) of the optional elements:

• Windows 7
• Windows Live SDK
• Use of Windows Mobile technologies and SMS Server Toolkit
• Silverlight
• Azure for implementing a S + S architecture application

I think this is quite self explanatory :)

You are finally ready to submit our competition entry! You can do so by clicking on the Compete button on the Software Design competition page or by going directly to http://imaginecup.co.uk/ and clicking on the Upload Entry button.

When you do that you need to provide the last bit of information.

First of all the word file in ZIP format! So, don’t try to upload the document directly please, zip it first!

If you have a logo for the application you can upload it using the Entry Thumbnail.

Then the title of your application (the same you used in the Word document) and a simple description of the application and the technologies you are going to use to build it (you can simply copy and paste what you wrote in the document).

Once all is done… just click on Update Entry and after your document has been uploaded you will see a screen like this to confirm that the submission has been succesful:


We will review all the entries after the submission and will inform the winners of the result by the 8th of January 2010…

If you have any questions about the submission process or anything else regarding your entry, just give me a shout (either via this blog or via twitter) or contact Ed via his blog


I wish you all the best with your entry and I am really looking forward to reviewing it after the submission!