On this week’s Developer Spotlight is Shoban Kumar. Shoban is a Microsoft Valuable Professional from Trivandrum. A Sharepoint developer by profession, he makes Windows Phone and Open Source apps in his free time. He has developed Windows Phone apps like HTC Clock, QRCode Generator and others. He has also developed an open source Windows Phone App Dashboard, a desktop app lets you see how your apps are doing in the marketplace.
His apps have been doing well in the marketplace, so I decided to interview Shoban and ask his views on Windows Phone.
WPSauce : Windows Phone ! Was it Love at First Sight ?
Shoban : Though I wouldn’t call it love at first sight, I love Windows Phone now because for the past few months Nokia Lumia is my primary phone and it does help me do things faster
WPSauce : How did you start developing for Windows Phone ? and Why ?
Shoban : I started developing apps for Windows Mobile for my personal use and being a C# developer, it was easy for me to start developing apps for Windows Phone. Since C# is my primary programming language, even in SharePoint, I was able to develop apps with just few hours of learning.
WPSauce : One of your most popular app on Windows Phone is HTC Clock with over 70,000 downloads – How did you get an idea for such an app ?
Shoban : HTC Clock is one my popular App but it does not have a very good review mainly because of Windows Phone Limitations . The idea for HTC clock was not new. I had developed a SharePoint WebPart using HTML, CSS and C# and it was very easy for me to port it to a Windows Phone app.
WPSauce : Developing for Windows Phone – What was the challenge in it ?
Shoban : I was new to XAML and it took me some time to used to it.
WPSauce : What do your users want ? How has the feedback been ? Can you throw some light on it ?
Shoban : Most of the Windows Phones users are used to Android and iOS devices and most of the feedbacks are for feature requests which are not possible due to Windows Phone Limitations. One common request is display Clock as a Tile.
WPSauce : As a developer, how do you make a Windows Phone User happy ? What is the secret sauce ?
Shoban : The best thing about a Windows Phone is its simplicity and easy to use. I would request every Windows Phone developer to read User Experience Design Guidelines for Windows Phone to develop apps that users will love to use.
There is no secret sauce, just make sure your app is not very slow and ask few of your friends to test the app before releasing it for marketplace. As developers, we forget what users want and develop apps which may be easy for us but difficult for end users. Test your apps with friends who are not programmers and listen to their feedback.
WPSauce : How would you rate the entire developer experience for Windows Phone ?
Shoban : I have spoken to few Android developers who tried out Windows Phone programming and all of them were amazed at the speed of development, the tools and the wealth of online resources available for Windows Phone development.
I was able to develop all my apps without the help of Windows Phone forums or community. MSDN articles and other blogs were more than enough to develop. Windows Phone apps are growing at a steady rate and Microsoft was not able to handle the amount of apps submitted daily. This resulted in delay for some of my apps to be certified but this was rectified soon and now the whole process is much better.
I found that APP Hub reporting is still slow and needs improvement.
Visual Studio is my primary development tool and there is no need to mention how amazing it is. It is one of the best IDE for development I have ever used.
WPSauce : How can Microsoft enrich the developer experience more ?
Shoban : Even though developing for Windows Phone is very easy there are many limitations in developing apps.
Most Android developers compare the amount of customization that is available in their phones and Windows Phone. I hope with new versions of Windows Phone developers will have more features and APIs to play around with.