Are you looking for a chance to show off your WPF skills? Do you have some cool UI designs in mind that you want to test out in a real application? Would you like to win some great prizes and solidify your reputation as a WPF Guru? Looking to demolish other WPFers in an epic battle for supremacy?! If so, I have great news for you…
I am hosting a Podder Skinning Competition!
I built Podder, the WPF podcast player app, in such a way that it supports “structural skinning.” The application can work with any user interface you throw at it. I challenge you to create the most innovative, attractive, functional skin for Podder. If you meet that challenge, you will win some cool prizes and your Podder skin will available for the entire world to download and use.
Why am I Doing This?
Programming competitions are a fun way to bring a technical community together and have people start sharing ideas. When I held The WPF Challenge, it received quite a bit of positive feedback and excitement. I think that the Podder Skinning Competition will be a fun way to see how other people approach WPF and create fresh visual designs. Since the functionality in Podder already exists and has been thoroughly tested, this competition allows the contestants to focus entirely on creating a great UI design and user experience, which is where WPF shines.
Here is what you stand to win. This list will probably grow as time goes on.
First Place Winner:
An 8 GB green Zune, courtesy of Microsoft.
Next time you are in New York City, I will take you out for an all-expense paid dinner to the world-famous Smith and Wollensky steakhouse (the restaurant can change if a vegetarian/vegan wins first place!)
A prominent position on my upcoming Podder Skinning Competition Hall of Fame page, featuring your bio, photo, and a screen-recording (video) of your winning Podder skin in action.
Second and Third Place Winners:
An 8 GB green Zune, courtesy of Microsoft.
A position on my upcoming Podder Skinning Competition Hall of Fame page, featuring your bio, photo, and screen-shots (images) of your winning Podder skin.
Number of Winners
The number of winners will be based on the number of skins submitted. If 1 – 5 skins are submitted, there will be 1 winner. If 6 – 10 skins are submitted, there will be 2 winners. If 11 or more skins are submitted, there will be three winners.
A panel of judges, including myself (Josh), will pick the winners. If you contact me, or any other judge, looking for help you will not receive a reply!
The Criteria for Success
The judges will assess each skin from three perspectives. The following shows these criteria listed in descending order of importance.
Functionality – Does the skin work properly? Is Podder’s underlying functionality exposed and working as expected? Does the app gently present important error messages to the user when necessary?
User Experience – Does the skin look and feel great? Is the interaction model intuitive? Does it have a consistent and appealing color scheme? Is it quick and responsive? Is the UI design innovative?
New Features – Does the new skin offer any cool new features that the Podder application did not have by default? (Since a Podder skin is just a plug-in, it can contain any functionality that you want.)
In addition, there is one rule that all skins must follow. The UI element, such as a ComboBox, that allows the user to select the active skin MUST be in the upper-right corner of the Window.
Who Can Participate?
Anyone can submit a skin, except the judges! A company cannot submit a skin. You can work alone or on a team, but no more than two people can be on a team. You or your team can submit as many skins as you want, but please bear in mind that your odds of winning increase by having one very good skin, as opposed to several decent ones.
How to Submit a Skin
Contestants submit a single Visual Studio project, with all accompanying source files, in a clean compiling state. You must compress that project into a .ZIP file and make it accessible via a web URL. You must submit the source code, not binaries. You can submit third-party control DLLs (provided the company’s licensing policy allows for it), but all of your original work must be submitted as code. Anyone should be able to download your skin project from the Web, without needing to provide a username/password.
Once you have your skin project available on the Web for download, please leave a comment on this blog post with your name and the URL. When you submit the comment, be sure to provide your real e-mail address, which will not be visible on my blog, so that I can contact you if you win.
Podder Source Code
Download the Podder source code from here: Podder Source Code. You MUST use this version of the Podder source code. Change the file extension from .DOC to .ZIP and decompress the file (that is a workaround for a limitation imposed by WordPress).
NOTE: Do not modify the Podder application source code. Your skin will be tested against the Podder source code as-is, and any changes you make to the Podder application will not exist when the judges are testing your skin.
All skins must be submitted by 00:00 (i.e. 12:00 AM) GMT on Monday, August 4, 2008. Any submissions received after that date will not be reviewed by the judges.
Please read the Creating a Podder Skin article to get the Podder source code and learn the basics of creating your own Podder skin. It is not too difficult to get going. Once you have your project set up and configured according to the steps outlined in that article, you can use the default Podder skin and Grant Hinkson‘s skin as references to see how Podder skins work.