When you walk into the quaint-looking Saroj Sadan inside the Mumbai University’s Kalina Campus, you’re immediately soaked with the AppFest mood. You see a bunch of excited 20 somethings running around with their laptops in tow or having animated discussions with their peers.

Once in, you see scores of students busy on their laptops, some drawing out blueprints, others discussing, and all hoping to build a great app. But where is all this hustle, you ask? Well, it was nothing but this year's Microsoft Student AppFest. About 10,000 students from across the length and breadth of country assembled at more than 50 centres to develop applications for a whole day. An average of 250 students from each college contributed to the total number of 10,000 participants.


At the venue

The goal of the event was to give students a chance to design apps with guidance from professional developers. Young tech-enthusiasts were allowed to cast their vision for apps on the Windows 8 and Windows Phone platforms; they were able to build, design and test bespoke apps for phones and tablets and received guidance and support from Microsoft mentors, trainers and Student Partners to realise their visions.


Students busy discussing at the Microsoft India AppFest 2013

A bunch of Microsoft Student Partners could be seen running around the place and helping out the participants. One such Student Partner was Pallavi, who told us she and her team had visited several colleges around the city, speaking to the HODs there and convincing the students to register for the AppFest. The response, she said, was tremendous. She also explained how the programme encouraged her to pursue app development in a more organised manner as compared to her peers who hadn't had such an experience.

The AppFest at Saroj Sadan in the University of Mumbai was inaugurated by Jean-Philippe Courtois, President, Microsoft International. Also seen at the venue were Dr Rajan Welukar, Vice-Chancellor, University of Mumbai, who spoke about the connect between both the IT and the education industries. He said, “The University of Mumbai is keen to develop competent skills in students as per the needs of the government, the industry and other social sectors. Conducting workshops on application development by the leading companies thus facilitates students to achieve the expertise required. We are bringing up new specialised courses, such as IT infrastructure management, in collaboration with the industry to bridge the gap between the academia and industry. Appfest by Microsoft is being conducted across fifty centers in India and being inaugurated here in University of Mumbai will stand as a landmark for achieving the above objectives.”

Sometime into the fest, I got a chance to interact with the participants. While still in the initial stages of the coding process, the students were nonetheless very excited about their ideas for apps. One student I spoke to was busy charting a blueprint for a game similar to the popular “Dots”. When asked why he chose to introduce the game as an app, he mentioned that he could not find a similar game on either of the app stores and hence hit upon the idea. Another group of young students I spoke to also had a gaming app in progress.

For those still not in the know, here's Microsoft India AppFest 2013 decoded.

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