A Conventional Developer’s Reaction To CloudSpokes and TopCoder Coming Together – 09/2013

Member since 08/18/11. Specialties include Mobile, Force.com, and Google App Engine.

I gotta admit the merger of CloudSpokes and topcoder caught me off-guard yesterday. I’ve been on CloudSpokes for two years now (celebrating my 2nd anniversary three days ago and getting wins number 80 and 81 today) and it was last September I got curious enough to take a peek around topcoder. The differences between the two reminded me of how I felt growing up as a kid in the seventies reading Spider-Man and Superman. topcoder seemed big on UML and upfront design, an extended judging process, and what we called shrinkwrap back in the day (I’ve been in the business 23 years). That’s fine, you can call in Superman for the heavy stuff, but to me CloudSpokes is just Spider-Man cool. Agile on the requirements, simple in the judging, and focused squarely on the cloud.

Before joining CloudSpokes I did have some hackathon experience with cloud platforms, but it’s been on CloudSpokes where I really cut my teeth on Cloud Foundry, Heroku, Google App Engine, and AWS. I won so many challenges on GAE even though I had zero experience with Google cloud tech prior to CloudSpokes. On the dev mindshare front, I got converted from a Cloud Foundry guy to a Heroku guy simply from the sheer volume of challenges involving Heroku. And yes, even as a guy who’s worked at 10 product (shrinkwrap) companies in his career (one of them Siebel), I’ve even gotten into Salesforce.com a bit, mostly through challenges using the Force REST APIs.

That’s the other focus of CloudSpokes I love, APIs. I enjoy exploring APIs over REST and I’ve been able to satisfy that craving with API challenges from Box, DocuSign, Amazon (DynamoDB), Personal, and Smartsheet, companies that came to CloudSpokes to promote their fresh APIs to our community. The mashup challenges are the best, where the technology choice is open and we are free to let our creativity and imagination go. It was just a few days ago I spent my weekend mashing up CloudSpokes’ own REST API with GitHub’s using Grails for a Librato dashboard challenge. And how cool was it when a challenge came up to get data from the Nike+ FuelBand into Salesforce Chatter. Nike had closed access to their REST API, so I had to buy a FuelBand, do some stepping on the streets of my hometown Toronto, and reverse engineer access to the API.

CloudSpokes is THE place I go for dev expression, to express my creativity as a developer using code (and geeky videos). I anticipate the topcoder merger will bring mo’ and mo’ opportunities to do that on a larger stage. I look at the leaderboards of CloudSpokes and topcoder, and I see the obvious differences in geography; our two combined communities span the planet. Let’s see how the Avengers and the Justice League united can crush it and bring it. You know who you are, eh?

This is William Cheung in Toronto and welcome to the Cloud