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Interview with SilverlightShow WP7 Quiz First-day Winner Apurva Amin (@keyboardP)

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Svetla Stoycheva
Svetla Stoycheva
Joined Sep 25, 2009
Articles:   25
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0 comments   /   posted on Sep 22, 2010
Tags:   windows-phone-7 , quiz , silverlightshow , apurva-amin
Categories:   Interviews


The Day One winner in our WP7 Quiz is Apurva Amin (@keyboardP), who besides being interested in WP7 development, maintains a really content-rich WP7 resource portal! Read below our short talk with Apurva.

Q. Congratulations for becoming the first winner in SilverlightShow WP7 quiz! Could you introduce yourself to the community at SilverlightShow - who are you, your professional background, projects you are currently working on, interests, blog or anything else you’d like to mention?

A. Firstly, thank you for the MSDN subscription. Hi everyone, my name is Apurva Amin, better known as ‘keyboardP’ in the dev community. I’m a Computer Science and Business graduate and have been programming for 13 years, most of which has been self-taught. I was an intern at Microsoft and am a Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist in the .NET framework. I’m currently an independent developer working on various projects, mostly revolving around Windows Phone 7, and maintain the ‘Phone7’ blog whenever I get the chance. I also like to try and help other people so I’m quite active on Twitter and the Windows Phone 7 MSDN forums and post various code snippets on my blog. Besides WP7 development, I’m also familiar with WPF, ASP.NET and WinForms.

Q. Why did you become interested in WP7 development? What challenges and business opportunities do you see in building WP7 applications?

A. For me, there are two main factors that stand out. Firstly, the development environment is second to none. Having had experience with other platforms, I find the WP7 development tools a joy to work with and very productive. I’m also familiar with the .NET framework, so it was a straightforward process migrating from desktop development to WP7 development and there was a minimal amount of paradigm changes required. Secondly, I believe there’s huge potential for WP7 to be successful and with an unsaturated marketplace, it could be quite lucrative for developers. I also feel Microsoft is on the right steps regarding Marketplace criteria to minimize the number of novelty apps that drown out quality apps.

Despite the phone getting generally positive reviews, it’s still an untested platform in the real world. Therefore, it’s quite a huge risk for full time independent developers like me to hedge their bets on the platform, but part of the challenge is to develop quality apps that will stand out and lower that risk. Also, being the first version of the SDK, it’s quite limited in functionality compared to other platforms and so some apps have to be designed to take into account any restrictions present.

Q. Are you planning to launch some application on the Marketplace when WP7 is launched?

A. Yes, I plan to launch a few applications around the launch period. The first app is a free app called ‘ICE – In Case of Emergency’. There’s a video of it on my YouTube channel (keyboardP7) and it’s an app designed for use if the user get into an accident or unsafe situation. If the user is unconscious, the first respondent can find out about any medications the user is on, any allergies or conditions the user suffers from and details of emergency contacts. If the user is in an unsafe situation, they can quickly and discretely perform actions such as text various people with a predefined message and their GPS location.

Another app, which is untitled at the moment, is designed to help people find things around the house so that they can avoid those moments where they vaguely remember seeing an item they need, but can’t remember where. I’m also hoping to release an XNA game, which is currently under development. More information closer to the game’s launch :).

Q. If you were Microsoft, what would you add in WP7?

A. Multitasking for third party apps but when, and only when, it has minimal impact on battery life and on other applications. If third party app multitasking is going to be done, it has to be done right.

Q. What do you expect from the official launch of the WP7 platform?

A. Clearly WP7 is a long term project and most of the excitement stems from developers and gadget lovers. With more advertising to mainstream consumers, I think MS are in a good position to sway consumers who are nearing the end of their current contracts, so I expect to see a lot more marketing and a more ‘hands-on’ approach (i.e. more demonstrations of the phone in person than exclusively via one-way adverts).

Q. There is a real hunger for WP7 resources right now, we judge this from the interest towards any WP7-related article we post on SilverlightShow. What WP7 topic would you be interested to read about on our pages?

A. I’ve enjoyed reading the articles on SilverlightShow and would like to see more tutorials on performance optimization and best-practice methods. It’s easy to forget that these apps will be running on mobile devices, so battery conservation is important for user experience.

Q. You, yourself, maintain quite an information-rich portal with WP7 resources - http://phone7.wordpress.com. What WP7 topic seems to trigger most views and interest on your portal?

A. My code samples seem to initiate a large influx of readers as well as any news or rumours of upcoming WP7 devices. Although videos of applications and games already get a number of views, I think this will increase once WP7 is marketed more to the mainstream consumers who are more interested in what apps they can download rather than the technical aspects.

Q. What type of code samples are on your site?

A. I’ve added various ones, but a very popular one is the GPS Simulator. The emulator is great at what it does, but it can be tricky trying to simulate GPS coordinates. I’ve uploaded code showing how to use Bing maps in order to get the GPS coordinates, so that the developer can simply move their mouse over Bing maps and retrieve the GPS location at that particular point. This information is then transferred, via WCF, to the developer’s app. This means developers can simulate their phone being anywhere in the world and makes it easier create and test GPS based apps.

Apurva - thanks for taking part in our quiz, and for giving this interview for SilverlightShow!

We invite you to take part in all other SilverlightShow quizes and contests, and contribute to creating useful WP7 content for SilverlightShow, and the whole Silverlight community!



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