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The Ubuntu App Showdown




Welcome to the third Ubuntu App Showdown, an open contest to develop new Ubuntu applications from startup to deployment in just six weeks! This time we’ll have a strong focus on HTML5 technologies and Chinese culture, with exciting prizes in multiple categories.

The contest will run from Wednesday, February 26th to Wednesday, April 9th 2014 (23:59 UTC). Contestants will build or port apps using the Ubuntu SDK and we will choose five winners.


  • QML: original apps written in QML or with a combination of QML and JavaScript/C++
  • HTML5: original apps written using web technologies, be it pure HTML (and CSS/JavaScript) or with platform access using Apache Cordova
  • Ported: apps ported from another platform, regardless of the technology used
  • Chinese apps: apps in this category will have to be original and specific to China and the Chinese culture. They will be judged by two native experts in our jury.

We will use the following definition of original and ported apps:

  • Original apps: those that are created for Ubuntu, without any existing code or implementation for other platforms. These must be started on or after the beginning of the App Showdown itself. Existing libraries or borrowing existing code is permitted, as long as it doesn’t make up a significant portion of the app’s functionality.
  • Ported apps: those that already exist for another platform. These apps can re-use any amount of existing code or resources from those other platform implementations, but any work to port it to Ubuntu can only happen on or after the start of the App Showdown itself.


For prizes this year, appropriately, we will be giving away tablets and phones! There will be three Nexus 7 tablets up for grabs running Ubuntu, and two Meizu handsets.

The prizes will be awarded according to each category:

  • QML, HTML5, Ported: the authors of the top app in the categories QML, HTML5 or Ported apps can each win a Nexus 7 (2013), with Ubuntu and your application pre-installed.
  • Chinese apps: the two top apps in the China category can win a phone by Meizu.

Review criteria

The panel of judges will be a diverse mix of Canonical and Community, each bringing their own unique perspective:

  • Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager
  • Adnane Belmadiaf, Ubuntu HTML5 expert
  • Lucas Romero di Benedetto, Ubuntu Community Design Team
  • Nekhelesh Ramananthan, Ubuntu Core App Developer
  • Joey-Elijah Sneddon, OMG!Ubuntu editor

The judges for the Chinese apps are:

  1. Shuduo Sang,Software Engineer in Canonical PES
  2. Joey Chan,Ubuntu Core Apps Developer
  3. Jack Yu,Ubuntu Kylin Lead/Ubuntu Member

The jury will judge applications according to the following criteria:

  • General Interest – apps that are of more interest to general phone users will be scored higher. We recommend identifying what most phone users want to see, and identifying gaps that your app could fill.
  • Convergence – apps that have a convergent layout that expands to dedicated tablet mode or optionally run well on the desktop will also be scored higher.
  • Features – a wide range of useful and interesting features.
  • Quality – a high quality, stable, and bug-free application experience.
  • Design – your app should harness the Ubuntu Design Guidelines so it looks, feels, and operates like an Ubuntu app.
  • Awareness / Promotion – we will award extra points to those of you who blog, tweet, facebook, Google+, reddit, and otherwise share updates and information about your app as it progress.
  • Chinese culture – apps optionally submitted in the China category will be reviewed with the same criteria above, plus their relevance to Chinese users of the app. This can be by providing access to Chinese services, being related to Chinese culture or being generally useful to somebody in the People’s Republic of China.

The judges will independently score each app and their scores will be combined to determine the overall winners.
It is permissible to use third party libraries in app submissions, but the app will be judged solely on the code that is unique to that app. If the majority of the app’s features are from third party code, it will not score well.

Additional points will be awarded for convergence apps that can adapt for use on tablets or the desktop. Additional points will also be awarded for use of Ubuntu platform services such as Online Accounts, Friends, and U1DB.



How to enter

Anybody can participate in the App Showdown, there is no need to register, sign up, or buy in. You don’t even need a phone running Ubuntu Touch, since any Ubuntu SDK application will run just as well in the emulator which comes with the Ubuntu SDK.

  • The contest starts on the 26th of February 2014
  • You’ve got 6 weeks to develop a new app, until the 9th April 2014 (23:59 UTC)
  • Your app must use the Ubuntu SDK, but you can choose from Qt components or HTML5, or any combination of languages and toolkits provided by the SDK
  • You must submit the app to the Software Store.
  • You must register your submission in the App Showdown form.

Check out the App Showdown rules ›


Get started with the Ubuntu SDK

If you are new to developing Ubuntu apps, check out the Ubuntu SDK section and its tutorials for installing, creating apps, running them and more. If you want to develop a QML app, you can follow this simple tutorial that shows the whole process, from creating a new project using the QML template, to navigating the Ubuntu SDK, to editing your code and getting it running locally. If you are interested in HTML5 apps, take look at these HTML5 app tutorials, including one showing how to use the Cordova Camera API.

Get started ›


Learning as you go

We will be offering a series of online workshops to cover various aspects of the Ubuntu SDK and showing how to use them in your application. Keep an eye out for the schedule announcements.
We have also compiled a series of App Developer Cookbooks (QML, HTML5) using some of the best answered questions from AskUbuntu. These cookbooks will keep getting updates as new questions get answered.
Finally you should bookmark the Ubuntu SDK’s API documentation(QML, HTML5) for easy browsing while you write your app.
Learn about Ubuntu app development ›


Submitting your Application

Applications will need to be submitted as Click packages. You can create these packages using QtCreator itself, or manually using command-line tools.

These Click packages must then be submitted through the Software Store, where they will have their installation metadata and security profile reviews. You can submit your application to the Software Store at any time before the deadline, and you may update it as many times as you want before the deadline. Any new submissions or updates made after the deadline will not be used.

Once submitted to the Software Store, you will need to fill out the App Showdown submission form (to be put online soon) to enter it into the contest.

Notice: The Ubuntu Software Store does not yet support selling apps, which will be included in a subsequent iteration.

Submit your app ›

Spread the word

Keep everyone updated by blogging about your app’s progress and post the blog entry link on Twitter with the #ubuntuappshowdown hash tag.

Be sure to send your blog entries to the UbuntuAppShowdown reddit or as a mention to @ubuntuappdevthe judges like to see your progress!

And remember to stay up to date about the latest Ubuntu App Showdown news on the app developer channels::