An Interview with Meteor for WP7 developer Ben McCormick

1) Have you developed Apps for any other platforms before? If Yes What are they?

Not for mobile platforms, but I have developed several web-based Silverlight apps over the last few years. They were mainly for smaller, personal things to help me learn the environment.

2) Why did you choose WP7 as a platform of your choice?

I’ve always been interested in mobile development, but the barrier of entry for the current popular mobile platforms is a little intimidating. There are only so many hours in the day and learning new environments and new languages just isn’t a priority for me at the moment. Being a professional C#/WPF developer means that I can take the skills that I’ve honed over the last few years and apply them directly to an exciting new platform.

3) Which one do you think as the single most feature you liked in WP7?

It’s more of a philosophy than a feature I guess, but the idea that your online or digital persona should be connected into an integrated experience seems to me like a great way to progress the mobile platform. As much as the sandboxed, segregated "app" experience works on current mobile devices, I honestly feel that it’s a model that needs to be looked at and evolved.

4) Are you satisfied with WP7 Platform development tools?

I’m happy with Silverlight for Windows Phone, to an extent; there are quite a few features that are missing that are available in the latest versions of Silverlight, and especially from WPF, but that’s another discussion altogether. We’ve had to come up with some fairly creative ways around some issues that don’t really appear on newer releases. Other than that, I’m very comfortable with C# and XAML and the development environments (Visual Studio and Blend) are absolutely top notch.

It would’ve been nice if official Panorama and Pivot controls were released earlier. As I write this, the final tools which include the release of these controls are a few days away. We’ve had to make do with controls that really aren’t suitable.

5) What are the Apps you are developing now in WP7?

Right now, we’re developing an application called Meteor which is essentially a Window Media Center remote controller. The difference between this app and a regular remote control app is that we want the experience to feel as natural and integrated as possible. We want to do away with the "remote control emulator" that most apps in this area try to do and to make the experience feel like a natural extension of Windows Media Center.

6) In what way Microsoft can improve their WP7 or What does WP7 lacks from?

From a developer standpoint, there are a few things that we’d like to see that probably won’t happen due to the nature of the platform, and the divide between Silverlight for Windows Phone/Silverlight 4 and WPF 4, but from a platform standpoint, I think it’s a little early to tell seeing as I haven’t even held an actual device in my own hands. Lots of people will say that "copy paste" or multitasking are extremely important, but I have never had an issue without them.

7) Future Plans of you?

As far as I’m concerned, I’d like to continue working on other WP7 apps. No real plans on that front at the moment as we’re still focused on making Meteor awesome. I would like to get into game development at some point too, so I’m going to take a look at XNA soon and see what that’s like and we’ve got some great ideas for a game that we think would work really well on the platform, so that’ll be something to look for once Meteor is finished.

Thanks Ben for sharing with us.

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