An Interview with WP7 Developer Niall Ginsbourg

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

I’ve been a software developer for around 20 yrs with a focus on Microsoft technologies -  so have done lots of freelance development on Windows ranging from consumer apps through to enterprise/web systems over the years. In 2001 I started my own company mobilewares which focused initially on J2ME and Mobile Browser applications – and later moved into writing a bunch of Windows Media Center apps (for TV). I tinkered a bit with iPhone development but never really liked the dev platform – so didn’t end up releasing anything there (and really didn’t like the way Apple was treating and controlling developers).  You can see some of the Media Center apps at http://bigscreenglobal.com – most of the other freelance development I do is for private companies (so not for public consumption).

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

I’d been doing quite a bit of Silverlight development on Desktop/Web and had a extensive .NET background – so the WP7 device was a natural fit for me. After not being too impressed with WinMobile devices in the past I was really excited to see Microsoft reinventing themselves in this area and embracing the great tools like Visual Studio and Blend to create Apps. It’s also great to see opportunities being created for companies like mine to get their apps out into the market with centralized systems like Windows marketplace – as this has always been very difficult to do with Windows apps (as getting market visibility was very hard).

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

Without a doubt Silverlight (and XNA) support for writing apps (and powerful devices to make it fly).

4)Are you satisfied with WP7 Platform development tools?

Yes – I’ve been using Visual Studio (and Blend) for quite a while now – and I couldn’t ask for anything better on this front. Microsoft have really got a very mature end-to-end development solution in place for day one. The WP7 Emulator also does a great job of emulating the real thing – which has always been a sore point developing for other mobile devices (like j2me platform). I’m looking forward to this platform evolving even further over time.

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

My first public release will be the big screen byRemote WP7 client – which allows you to remotely access your Windows 7 Media Center machine (via the byRemote server installed on that pc). With this app you can browse and search the EPG (Electronic Program Guide), schedule recordings and manage your recorded tv files. The app is designed for people on the go who want to make sure they don’t miss any tv shows to record – plus those who just want a quick way to see what’s on while at home.  I will of course be writing more apps (some are in development already) – but none are ready for public release/discussion just yet.The core product for this client (big screen byRemote for Windows 7 Media Center) has a product site at : http://bigscreenglobal.com/bgproduct.aspx?PID=BSRV1 – and is currently available for use with Silverlight4 (desktop/oob), Mobile Browsers (XHTML and iPhone/Webkit).

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

I’ve only used/seen prototype devices and beta O/S – so I’m still not 100% clear what will be in the final build (there’s some obvious things missing like ability to email/upload videos – but will probably be there for the final version – or supported through 3rd party apps).  I’d like to see some more support for additional video codec’s – particularly the .wtv format used by Media Center for recorded TV. Ability to deploy apps directly to users directly from the browser (without requiring them to be on marketplace) would be on my wish list too.

7)Future Plans of you?

I will continue to develop for both the Windows platform, Media Center and WP7. I’m hoping WP7 will be a great success with consumers (and be on par at least with the iPhone) and a viable platform to focus on – so then I can justify spending time on writing more Apps.

Apart from these questions, Other things you want to share with the community?

I’d encourage everyone to spread the word on WP7, Silverlight and how great it is to ensure it’s successful. If you’re a developer – download the SDK, Tools and start having a play – you’d be surprised how easy and enjoyable the WP7 is to work with compared with other platforms.

Thanks Niall for sharing with us.Expecting more cool application from you in the future.

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