Summary: Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, talks about the 2013 Scripting Games.

Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, is here. Well, the 2013 Windows PowerShell Scripting Games are over. Now the task of identifying all winners begins. Of course, from a philosophical perspective, that is easy—there are exactly 2,153 winners because that is the number of scripts submitted by participants from all over the world and from all different walks of the dev-ops world.

There is actually an additional winner: the Windows PowerShell community. This is the first time that a major Microsoft event was turned over completely to the community. And I do mean completely. Because if it were not for the Windows PowerShell community, there would not have been a 2013 Scripting Games.

Actually, I was not worried because each year I have relied more and more on the community to ensure a successful Scripting Games. This is because with each passing year, more and more scripters stepped up to the plate to assist with tasks such as writing guest blog posts, grading entries, helping publicize the games. Therefore, it was a natural extension to permit oversight of the games to take place.

Enter PowerShell.org

Just about the time I was looking to expand community participation in the Scripting Games, PowerShell.org was formed as a not-for-profit entity to foster Windows PowerShell adoption, to help support Windows PowerShell User Groups, and to organize events like the Windows PowerShell Summit. When I approached Don Jones, one of the cofounders of PowerShell.org with my plan, he quickly embraced the idea and marshaled resources from all over the world to assist in organizing, administering, running, and conducting the games.

So how did the community do?

From a numbers perspective, how the Windows PowerShell community do with the 2013 Scripting Games compared with the 2012 Scripting Games? First of all, the Windows PowerShell community made a couple of very well received changes. They changed from an intense two-week competition to a more relaxed six-week completion. Instead of having new events revealed every day, they revealed events one week at a time. This enabled people to schedule the time to write their answers for the events. It also provided more time to work on the advanced events. And in 2013, there were six events instead of ten events. Even so, here are the numbers:

Total value of prizes from all sponsors:

2013: $25,000

2012: $25,000

Number of participants:

2013: 2286

2012: 608

Number scripts submitted:

2013: 2,153

2012: 3,514

Number scripts per event:

2013: 179.4

2012:  175.7

It’s about the content

The cool thing about the Scripting Games is that it provides a glimpse into the state-of-script. It highlights in a very real way the things that need to be documented, things that need to be made easier, and how we need to do a better job to get the word out to our customers. For example, if people who are dedicated enough to the Windows PowerShell community are missing some vital piece of information, it is obvious we need to do a better job with documentation.

So what content was created? This year, the Windows PowerShell community generated 85 blog posts about the 2013 Scripting Games events. This is not all. The Windows PowerShell community is still going through the events and the comments, and are coming up with a top 12 hit list of blog posts for clarification. Curiously enough, this was also the subject of a sold out (we turned away over 80 people) Birds-of-a-Feather session at TechEd North America this year. So interest continues to be high.

Final evaluation

By any stretch imagination, the 2013 Scripting Games was a complete success. In fact, it had a higher level of participation, generated more content, and broke new ground due to turning the event over to the Windows PowerShell community. This provides a model for future levels of community engagement. Well done to all who participated and to those who helped organize this spectacular event.

Join me tomorrow when I will talk about migrating VBScript code to Windows PowerShell.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at scripter@microsoft.com, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy