Microsoft has handed over Mayhem, its Windows Scripting tool, to the Outercurve Foundation. A contest with $5,000 in prizes is underway to promote interest in Mayhem.
If you've not come across Mayhem before its a tool that helps link different Windows applications in a single workflow in a graphical environment in a way that is similar to how batch files string together programs in a command-line environment. So it can be used for actions you want to repeat, such as using a cellphone to control a PowerPoint presentation, or to send a user an email whenever a weather program reports that the outside temperature has fallen below a certain point.
According to Microsoft’s project leader for Mayhem, Paul Dietz:
"Mayhem is a collection of events and actions you tie together. It is not as powerful as working with Visual Studio. But not many people are willing to take the effort to become expert programmers, so this provides a tool that allows people to do a lot of stuff very quickly.”
The program was initially developed by Microsoft’s applied sciences research group and placing the program in open source, Microsoft is hoping that more developers will write more modules for Mayhem, expanding the program’s applicability.
As we reported back in September 2010, OuterCurve Foundation is the the new name for Codeplex and Mayhem is the first project in its newly formed Innovators Gallery.
To stimulate interest in Mayhem the Make Your Own Mayhem contest is a competition to create add-ons for it. Developers are invited to submit as many entries as they want to until the deadline of April 30th. There are three cash prizes:
Mayhem Master 2012 - US $3000 For the best collection of add-ons Winner to be selected by panel of judges
Most Awesome Add-On - US $1000 Winner to be selected by panel of judges
People's Choice- US $1000 Selected by number of "Likes" on entry video
plus up to 50 prizes of 4000 points on a Microsoft Points card with winners selected by the panel of judges.
The contest site has example ideas for adds on but it is looking for creativity and invites developers to "surprise us!".