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IBM’s XML Challenge (lots of prizes inside)

The XML ChallengeIBM is holding a series of challenges centered around XML. The whole event is labeled The XML Challenge (subtitle: Search for the XML superstar). Rockstar references aside, this is a pretty cool initiative that can provide you with some freebies as well as high quality prizes if you win any of the available contests.

The Contests

What I say below applies to US and Canada, as the contest is being held worldwide in 30 countries separately, and each of these may have different individual contests and prizes as well. In fact, the first thing you’ll see when you visit the site should be a popup that prompts you to select your country.

For US/Canada there are 5 contests: Video, Gadget, Query, Porting and XML. The Video Contest consists of creating a funny/creative/cool video about XML, XQuery and/or DB2. The Gadget Contest is about developing a downloadable gadget/widget that leverages DB2. The Query Contest requires you to use XQuery to query a database and come up with the answer to five questions. The Ported Application Contest is all about porting an existing application to DB2 or creating a new one that uses DB2. And finally, the XML Contest asks you to build a useful, user-friendly XML application from scratch. The last two contests can be approached as a team or as an individual. The Query, Ported App and XML contests start today!

You don’t have to participate in all of them, of course. But by participating in any of these you gain points, and there are six badges that you can obtain: XML Challenger, XML Rookie, XML Whiz, XML Star, XML Master and XML Grand Master. I feel so nerdy reporting this. The XML Grand Masters will be enrolled in a draw for an additional prize.

The Prizes

Speaking of prizes, let’s see what goodies are up for grab. There will be a few give-aways just for participating. For example, the first 500 participants will receive an XML Challenge T-Shirt as well as a Rubick’s Cube. The first 1000 to complete the Quick Quiz during registration will also receive a free T-Shirt. But let’s move on to the more substantial prizes.

For the sake of awarding prizes, the contestants will be split in two groups, students and professional developers.

The Video Contest: The deadline is December 17, 2008 and a few selected winners will receive an 8GB iPod Video Nano (for both students and developers).

The Gadget Contest: The deadline is December 17, 2008 and the winning students grab Canon Powershot SD870 Cameras, while winning developers get 80GB Zunes.

The Query Contest: After you register, you’ll have 24 hours to submit your answers. The first 50 successful participants for each group (for a combined total of 100) will receive a 1GB USB key, while all the contestants with the right answers will be entered in a draw for a grand prize. This is a Playstation 3 40GB for the students, and a 32GB iPod Touch for the developers;

The Ported Application Contest: The deadline is January 31st, 2009. The winning team or individual amongst the students will receive an HD Pavilion HDX Notebook, while the winning developer will score a Lenovo IdeaPad U110. The second prize for both of the two groups will a Garmin nüvi GPS.

The XML Contest: The deadline is January 31st, 2009. The 1st prize for each group will be a high-end 17″ Alienware Laptop (two laptops will be awarded in total). The second prize for both groups will be a Nintendo Wii (again, two in total).

Finally, two lucky XML Grand Masters, one developer and one student, will receive a Bose Wave Radio II.

I hope you consider enrolling now and best of luck! If you need some help with getting started with DB2 Express-C, you can download the free e-book which is available in several languages. Oh, and finally we have an Italian version as well.

Promote this post

Hey, would you give me a hand in promoting this post? If you are in the US or Canada, and mention & link to this post from your blog, you’ll receive a free XML Challenge T-Shirt and a Rubick’s Cube as well. All you have to do is send me an email (to acangiano at with a link to your blog entry, as well as your shirt size and complete mailing address. Thank you!

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17 Responses to “IBM’s XML Challenge (lots of prizes inside)”

  1. Cool. I’ll see if Italy is included in the list 😉

  2. Francois says:

    As usual, African countries will not be included.

  3. Abhinav says:

    i guess India too needs to be there

  4. Lewis says:

    wow…this sounds really good…
    but when it comes to choosing country…
    it doesnt have Taiwan…
    you have Thailand & Turkey…but there’s no Taiwan…..
    too bad….

  5. Brendan says:

    What about Australia? are aussies able to enter this competition?

  6. Kingz says:

    “The Ported Application Contest: The deadline is January 31st, 2008.” I hope my time machine is working so I can go back and get my entry in

  7. quangntenemy says:

    Hi Antonio,
    Why are the bordering countries all stored in a stupid string which is not even comma-separated? Don’t tell me DB2 Express-C has built-in functions to deal with such badly-designed database :O

  8. Rahul D. says:


    The Ported Application Contest and The XML Contest’s deadlines seems to be expired (January 31st, 2008). Is it a typo or this year the contest isn’t held??

  9. @Lawrence: The Italian contest should be ready in a day or two.

    @Francois: This year the contest was organized separately by country. In countries where we lack local support, the contest is not being held. That said, it’s possible that next year we’ll have a unified worldwide contest, where African countries, as well as developing countries throughout the world, will be able to participate.

    @Abhinav: There is an Indian contest. As a matter of fact, it’s garnered the largest participation level so far. You can find it here:

    @Lewis: The reason why Taiwan is not listed is because we didn’t have local support to hold the contest. That said, and I realize this is a very sensitive issue, you are still eligible to participate in the Chinese contest. This of course is not due to political reasons, but rather to practical ones.

    @Brendan: Unfortunately Australia is not participating in this year’s contest. But it will, for sure, in the next one.

    @Kingz and @Rahul D.: Thanks, that was a typo. The contest started on the 1st of December and ends in two months, on January 31st, 2009.

    @quangntenemy: I agree with you that it’s not the best choice from a design standpoint. However, I haven’t spoken with the author of the XML schema, so it could be that this choice was an intentional one, to make the process of finding answers to the contest questions more challenging.

    Thank you everyone for your comments, and thanks to all of you who are blogging about this.

  10. Todd says:

    What if we’re not on the list of countries?

    I might be still asleep but I dont see New Zealand either.

    Who do we get in touch with?

    Or is it too late?

  11. Todd, unfortunately unlisted countries are not eligible to participate this year. New Zealand will most likely take part of next year’s contest.

  12. Adil says:

    Why the “Pakistan” is not listed in the country list?????

  13. Adil, read the comments above. It’s a matter of local support.

  14. TaylorStyle says:

    Hey Guys,
    The query contest is NOT expired, not sure where you’re seeing the 2008 date but I just entered myself and some of my friends did too. If anything, it’s January 31, 2009.

  15. Ressty says:

    What about the group of query challenge?

    How many people are there in a group?

  16. @Ressty: The Query Challenge is not for groups.

  17. Apra Sahney says:


    The XML Challenge is also live in India at Apart from its basic and advance level it now hosts the final level as the Query Contest. One has to complete 4 XML queries to complete this stage and can win weekly prize and be eligible for a sweepstake to win an iPOD/Laptop. Every question comes with a hint and allows unlimited attempts to qualify.

    Hope this helps for those interested.

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