The WPF Challenge winners

The winners of The WPF Challenge have been determined.  It was difficult to pick three winners, because many of the submitted applications were very impressive.  Here’s the glory story:

First Place Quixotry by Johnny Turpin

Application: Quixotry is a beautifully designed game, similar to Scrabble.  The UI is elegantly simple and intuitive.  It provides smooth drag-drop effects for the letter tiles, which is a nice touch.  I feel that this application makes use of WPF in an elegant and simple way. The game also has an artificial opponent to play against.

Winner: Johnny Turpin is a multi-dimensional software engineer who has developed an interest and expertise in software design for the 10′ experience. He is currently working for Industry Next, a technology and design firm, where he is a Senior Engineer exploring the latest application frameworks and design patterns and how to apply them to create compelling interactive entertainment applications. He has held previous positions at Apple Computer where he worked in the Video Architecture Group and Minerva Networks where he championed the development of IP Television applications. He can be found around the New York area playing in the band Seems So Bright and enjoys the occasional competitive game of foosball and tennis.

Second PlaceWPF Physics (desktop version) by Chris Cavanagh

Application: Cavanagh’s WPF Physics desktop application is a very fun and dynamic UI, which uses a physics engine he wrote.  The animations are very slick and realistic.  This application demonstrates that WPF can really shine in unexpected ways.

Winner: I’m a .NET web application developer based in south eastern Minnesota.  I moved here (with my wife Nicola and three awesome kids) from England in 2004 with a background in C, C++, Delphi and .NET.  It’s been one heck of a ride since then!  I spend most of the week knee-deep in ASP.NET and (recently) Flex development.  I started following Avalon pretty early and was pumped when WPF was finally released (no more breaking updates – yay!).  I’m your typical geek who codes through the day, then codes the rest of the time too (probably in my sleep also; I’ve always got some crazy hobby project on the go).  My interest in integrating physics engines with WPF probably comes from my past obsession with 3D graphics coding and games that let me blow stuff up.  FYI I’ve got an all-C# physics engine almost ready to roll (based on the Bullet engine) and some funky stuff with BSP trees; hopefully you’ll see that on my blog sometime soon!

Third PlaceRSS Reader by Gavrilovici Corneliu

Application: RSS Reader really stands out visually.  It is a simple tool which has a great look and feel.  It has nice visual effects when changing the category of blogs to view.  This application seems to be something that one wouldn’t see in anything HWND based, so it definitely is a “WPF app” worth checking out.

Winner: My name is Corneliu Gavrilovici and I was born in Romania, Cluj Napoca, on the 2nd of July 1984. I’ve graduated a technical high school and afterwards I applied to the Computer Science University and I got accepted. I am now in my third year of study and I also work as a programmer in a well respected company.(this is their site ) I had an interest regarding computers and programs since I was a teenager and therefore I started programming with the will of fulfilling my needs and dreams. I thank you for contacting me and I hope this brief bio gives you an idea on how I am and do.

Notable Mentions
Three judges were involved with choosing the winners of The WPF Challenge.  We did not all agree on which apps were the best (I had to ultimately make that very difficult choice).  Here are the apps that were picked as potential winners, but did not make it into the final list.

Chart and Lens Panel by John Stewien

Sticky Spaces by Forrest Miller

You can view all of the submitted applications on this page

The Judges

Here are the fellows who helped decide which apps won the competition.

Jordan Nolan,
I’m a former Infragistics Windows Developer and software consultant in the Boston area.  I’ve been extolling the wonders and virtues of WPF for a couple of years now to anyone who will lend an ear.  When I’m not blissfully working with .Net I can usually be found indulging my passion for great wine, scotch and cognac.

Nick Thuesen
I’m currently a WPF developer for the New York Times.  I’ve spent the last year and a half building the Times Reader application.  Lately, I’ve been eating, sleeping and thinking WPF.  In my spare time I’m your typical sarcastic geek who writes code in his spare time.  (This is when I’m not in a heated philosophical discussion on why Batman could possibly take Superman in a battle royale.)  I have a blog where I write posts about subjects I pretend to know a lot about.  You can find it at

Josh Smith
I love four things: my girlfriend Denise, the music of J.S. Bach, fine liquors (particularly scotch), and WPF.  I’ve been playing classical piano since I was five years old, and programming since around nine or ten.  I’ve known Jordan for years now, and worked with him at two different companies.  I’ve gotten to know Nick for about one month so far while working with him at The New York Times on Times Reader.  Oh yea…I recently just discovered how ridiculously funny South Park is.  🙂

13 Responses to The WPF Challenge winners

  1. Odi says:

    Awesome, overall a great contest and it was nice that you put a brief bio of the winners and host. Thanks for all the time you spent on this.

  2. Josh Smith says:

    Thanks Odi. I’m very happy that there was so much interest in the Challenge, out there in the WPF community. I never expected to get so many submitted applications and positive feedback! 🙂

  3. Judah says:

    Congrats to all the winners. I’m sad that I didn’t have time to throw my hat in the ring. Guess I’m still a WPF newb. 🙂

    Josh, will you be hosting competitions like this again in the future?

  4. Josh Smith says:


    I am considering having a WPF/E Challenge, but am not sure if the technology’s user base is large enough yet to make it viable. Perhaps I’ll have another WPF Challenge, but with a theme of some kind (like, Games, or 3D apps only). I dunno.

    Believe it or not, it’s a lot of work hosting a competition like that. I need to take a break for a while. 😉


  5. Jason says:

    I have issues running the Quixotry XBAP. The application seems to run fine, but I can’t get the whole game on the screen. Does it require a higher resolution than 1024 x 768?

  6. Josh Smith says:


    I don’t know why you can’t see the whole game on your screen. Are you using a small monitor? It looks good on my 20″ monitor.


  7. Jason says:


    I am on a laptop. I believe it has a 15″ screen.


  8. It use to work at that resolution, but I guess after some last minute adjustments things are now a little wonky…

    I created a special version for 1024×768 screens here:

    Note that you will have to invoke full-screen mode of IE (F11) to run it at that resolution.

    Interestingly, I noticed some rendering differences (in size only) between the App version and the XBAP version of this application. Its on my todo list to refactor into a completely dynamic layout design.

  9. Jason says:


    Thanks for your response. However, even in full-screen mode in IE, I still miss part of the screen. This is because you still have the toolbar ar the top of the screen.


  10. Jason says:


    I just realized you can hide the toolbar, so the game is fully functional at 1028 x 764 now. Thanks very much. One more question. Does the game allow for foreign words to be used? Many times, the computer player gets credit for words that do not seem to be valid.


  11. A mini FAQ for Quixotry

    Quixotry uses what is refered to as the TWL06 word list.

    This word list contains 178,690 words – many of which are indeed obscure – but are also official.

    Quixotry uses no AI other than examining all possible moves and choosing the highest scoring one. It is single ply and does not try to save “good” letters or block high scoring squares like good players know how to do.

    The move generation algoritm is based on the Appel and Jacobson algorithm published back in 1988 and documented here:

    Click to access aj.pdf

    It is extremely efficient and fast – mostly due to the specialized data structure used in storing the word list – called a DAWG – Directed Acyclic Word Graph. I don’t compact the DAWG after constructing it, so it can be quite inefficient, memory wise – but with current generation computers, who cares about an extra 80mb…

    I knew absolutely nothing about scrabble before starting this project – which was one of the main motivators in choosing it to learn WPF.

  12. […] physics in Silverlight 1.1 Chris Cavanagh, the man who came in second place in The WPF Challenge for his WPF Physics demo, is at it again.  This time he has built a Silverlight 1.1 app on top […]

  13. […] was the winner of the first ever WPF Challenge, a contest hosted by Josh Smith at his very informative WPF related […]

%d bloggers like this: