Cuba, Columbia and Cool Prizes: the Code Wars Update

This week there are three big announcements about Code Wars, one of the top student hackathons in the world.

The first Cuban competitor

There’s a proud history of schools from around the world taking part in Code Wars, but a team from Cuba has never entered the competition.

Until now.

Havana-based Universidad de las Ciencias Informaticas is on the slate of competitors in 2014.

Another competitor: Columbia University

Who will take home the 2014 Windward Code Wars trophy?
Who will take home the 2014 Windward Code Wars trophy?

The latest school to sign up is Columbia University.

The school has a boatload of computer science achievements, including theĀ Anita Borg Women of Vision Award andĀ “30 under 30” Innovators in Science [Forbes Magazine], but there’s no Code Wars championship on that list.

This may be the year it gets added.


An honored repeat from JetBrains

Lastly, JetBrains has announced they will be a major sponsor again this year.

Every student on each school’s top team will score a free copy of any two JetBrains products. As in a free copy of IntelliJ. A free copy of ReSharper. Or any of their other awesome tools.

Thanks, JetBrains!

Still time to sign up

If your school is interested in competing, there’s still time. Head on over to the Code Wars registration page.

Hope to see you in 2014.

Take the Challenge, Get a Free AutoTag

Yep, you heard that right. Take the Windward 30-Day Challenge and end up with a free copy of AutoTag.

The 30-Day Challenge

You and your data before the challenge.
You and your data before the challenge.

No, this is not a 30-day trial. It’s a full-blown get-this-thing-installed-and-running-and-forget-about-it-because-it’s-working-so-smoothly challenge.

The challenge in three easy steps:

  1. Sign up for the Windward challenge by November 1.
  2. Implement Windward in 30 business days, guaranteed.
  3. Get a free AutoTag (worth $995) when you switch to Windward’s reporting and document generation solution.
You and your data after the challenge.
You and your data after the challenge.

Who Can Participate?

You can! as long as you sign up before November 1st, 2013 and:

  • You have a working knowledge of your data, which is stored in a working SQL database or XML file that contains the data you need
  • You have at least five templates or report samples in a Word or Excel format
  • You (or your English speaking staff) is knowledgeable in your environment structure, how to implement programmatic API calls in code (.NET or Java), how your data is structured, and how to access it.

Learn more and sign up for the challenge today.

The Windward Story

“Why are we here? Where do we come from? Traditionally, these are questions for philosophy, but philosophy is dead.” — Stephen Hawking

Everyone has a story. Here’s ours.

The “aha” moment

This guy named Dave was working as a tech exec in the late ’90s, and the CTO wanted some reports. Dave and the CTO were having a hard time communicating what those reports should look like, so Dave asked him to create a mockup in Word. The numbers were fake, but the layout, formatting, etc. were what his boss needed.

Dave thought, “Why can’t we just click a button and turn that mockup into a report template?”

Thus it was born: the idea of taking sample templates from the user and adding data placeholders. It was the basis for a radically new product.

But Dave was busy with other things.

And three years went by.

The diagnosis

The bump on Dave’s neck that the doctor said was “nothing” was actually a little more serious, and suddenly Dave had a lot of time on his hands. While he was slowly recovering but not yet ready to work full-time, Dave kept busy by writing a program. A program for creating reports in Microsoft Office. (Yes, that program mentioned above.)

The first Windward website. Note the proud display of code on the homepage.
The first Windward website. Note the proud display of code on the homepage.

He spent a couple of months, got a complete system, and almost released it as open source.

Our story probably would have ended there, but instead Dave decided to put it up as a commercial product. He even created a spiffy website, complete with a demo and online support forum.

In the first month a Japanese bank and a state agency bought what was now being called AutoTag. Windward was off and running.

Where we are now

In the past decade we’ve gone from a limited product — the first version was available for Java only, XML data only, and design in Microsoft Word only — to a much more unrestricted one. One that’s being used in 70 countries and all continents except Antarctica.

And we’ve gone from just two employees to a company with full development, sales, marketing and resource departments.

But we still have the same fundamental goal: to develop the fastest, easiest, and most powerful reporting software on the market. See for yourself how well we’re meeting that goal by checking it out.