This week we've been joined by Saleh Esmaeili and Nadeem Mardini from dots and lines, a small developer firm based out of the United Arab Emirates who are responsible for the Twitter client Carbon. We've managed to get an insight into how they view the development environment of Windows Phone, as well as a sneak peek at what's next planned for Carbon.
Head on past the break to read the full interview.
Tell us about yourselves and how you got into software development.
We're an upcoming small mobile boutique based out of United Arab Emirates. We're a small team that lives mobile day in and day out. Every one of us in the team has been in software, interactive, and digital industries for more than 5 years. We're still learning.
What do you think of Microsoft's platform (from a user perspective) and how do you compare it to competitors?
Well Metro, enough said? This might be the 1000th time that someone says this, the great radical experience that comes with Metro UI brings a fresh way of doing things. Simply and elegantly beautiful, yet easy & out-of-the-way kindda' system. We love it! You probably knew that, we don't think Metro is supposed to be compared to any other system, basically because it is in a league of itself.
What's the number one feature you love the most in Mango, and what are you looking forward to in the next update?
Well, we wouldn't limit our choice to Mango but the number one feature we love about Windows Phone is Live Tiles, as opposed to Notification Center & Android's Notification Dashboard.
What path(s) led you to develop for Windows Phone?
We started our first version of Carbon on webOS and were thinking of taking it to other platforms, that was around the same time that we got our hands on a Windows Phone device, used the phone for a bit, loved it as you can tell, check out the development environment and what is possible on the platform and took it from there.
What's your take on the Windows Phone development process?
In the process of building our first WP app Carbon we came across learning the UI system, Development Framework, and the gorgeous IDE that is Visual Studio and Expression Blend, it was easy to pick up. We also had a great adventure diving into the MVVM design pattern and how it compared to MVC that is used in other platforms, been a great journey of learning.
How does the development process compare to other platforms?
App development is the same on every platform really. It doesn't compare (we work on Android & iOS as well), different environment, but better tools and a great community of developers and a huge support from MSDN & the Open Source community at Codeplex, to name a few we use stuff from MVVM Light Framework, Hammack and a few others that have been a great boost in development.
Carbon is an incredibly popular Twitter client, that has taken the platform by storm, walk us through how it came to be?
Carbon started on webOS and was built around the idea of having all of the Twitter on one screen with minimum number of taps to access different Timelines. The same was the base for our Windows Phone version where we utilized the most that we could from the system UI & Interaction and added our touches to the app.
Our idea was to have an original app that doesn't borrow from other apps from any other platform but build on our Carbon base so we added screens like Quickline, our Quick Reply & Quote Tap gestures, Full Image views on Timelines, and when Mango hit the phones we needed to beat the built-in integration so we added Compose Tile, and so on. We're still working on it...
What's planned for the future of the Carbon project?
Ah... a lot, Push Notifications is one of our biggest features that will hit Carbon on Windows Phone soon, we'll have an announcement for that in the next couple of weeks. Other than that, lots of performance tuning, and a few redesigns to our Profile and Tweet screens and a cool new UI element to replace our Context Menus.
What other Windows Phone projects are you working on?
We're not working on any other Windows Phone projects at this time.
What advice would you give to other aspiring developers?
Don't bring iOS & Android features & experiences to Windows Phone. Learn Metro, add to it. Work hard & deliver, it's worth it!
Thank you for your time. Any closing words about WP7's future?
Thank you guys for supporting developers and their work, and thanks for having us on this interview.