The Topcoder Open’s Software Development track celebrated an important anniversary at TCO18: it was for the 15th time that 16 contenders from all around the world clashed in the final battle for the Topcoder Development Champion crown. It was also this year when the format of the final competition changed dramatically to bring in a new dimension, and open a new, revolutionary chapter in the long history of this competition.
In the recent years development finals were carried out in the hackathon format. Competitors, given a software development problem and four hours of time, had to deliver the best software piece, fitting into the exact contest specifications. After the match deadline, their deliverables were scored by a jury, following an objective scorecard, and the results were declared at the final ceremony of the tournament.
Starting this year, the concept evolved into the following. Contenders were challenged to develop a RESTful API, compliant with the interface specified by a provided Swagger (OpenAPI) document. They were allowed to use any tech stack of their choice, with the only restriction that the resulting solution had to be dockerized, to allow automatic scoring by a brand-new Topcoder testing system. This new system automatically ran a set of API test cases, right after each submission, and displayed resulting scores at the live leaderboard during the challenge. Thus, the entire experience for the followers and supported became closer to that of the Algorithm and Marathon Match competitions, where provisional scores are also updated during challenges.
The specific problem for this year’s final was a complex resource scheduling and tracking API; i.e. a system for tracking availability of personnel for business meetings and other work, that allows to make appointments, track the progress, and make planning updates in an agile way. This problem involved a lot of edge cases and subtle details in the expected behavior. Together with the four hours time restriction, and the novelty of the rules for competitors, it presented a tough challenge for TCO development finalists.
To keep a certain suspense, scoring test cases were split into two subsets, with only the first subset used to update the live leaderboard during the competition. The final scores, based on the results from all tests, were revealed at the TCO18 awards ceremony, held at the last day of the tournament.
Check out the closing ceremony video here.
Wrapping up this article, it is worth it to remind everyone that the on-line part of the TCO19 tournament is in the full swing these days, with 75 days to go till the end of its second stage; the Top-3 members in each stage win the all-paid trip to the on-site tournament, and the chance to become the next Topcoder Open Development Champion. Join the competition now!