We've been joined by Damian Karzon, the developer (DK Development) behind BoxShot (Windows Phone client for Dropbox), for this week's interview. Head on past the break for the insightful answers provided on platform development.
Tell us about yourselves and how you got into software development.
My name is Damian Karzon I’m 23 and live in Brisbane, Australia. For me software development is pretty much in my blood, my parents did it and from them I was exposed to computers from a very young age. Started working with HTML as a teenager then moved into VB and got attached to the Microsoft stack through Uni and I’ve been doing it ever since.
What do you think of Microsoft's platform (from a user perspective) and how do you compare it to competitors?
I love Windows Phone. It’s so different yet so simple. The Live tiles and social integration really sets it apart from the rest.
What's the number one feature you love the most about Windows Phone, and in Mango specifically?
Tiles! Windows Phone do these so well, especially with the updates in mango. You can now pin certain functions of apps or the apps themselves, the tiles can be updated automatically in the background. You can move them around your home screen and have as many as you want.
What path(s) led you to develop for Windows Phone?
I have been very interested in mobile devices for a long time, started with some Windows Mobile. Couldn’t get into iPhone too much as I didn’t want to fork out for a mac. The Windows Phone 7 was announced, using C# with Visual Studio and Blend, by far the best developer experience for a mobile platform.
What's your take on the Windows Phone development process?
I really like what Microsoft have done for developers especially with the mango release, it’s clear they actually listened to what we were all saying and tried to help. A good example of this is the developer preview for mango, this allowed registered developers to flash a version of mango onto their phones a few months before the real release came out.
Have you developed for any competing mobile platform and if so how does their development process compare?
I have tried a bit of Android as Java is a lot like C# (at least syntax wise) but without the .NET framework and Visual Studio it was a lot harder than I thought.
I am a .NET developer, that’s what I do every day and I know it well. At the moment I just do mobile apps for fun and developing for iPhone or Android just isn’t fun for me so I’ll stick to Windows Phone.
BoxShot for Dropbox is extremely popular, tell us about its development and how the idea came around.
Well I have always been a big fan of Dropbox and before Windows Phone 7 I had a Windows Mobile app called DroppedBoxx, this app was a bit of a hit as it was the first to implement any sort of folder syncing. From that spawned my open source Dropbox library, DropNet, which brought about support for Windows Phone 7 so it was only logical that I made an app for it. I have recently released BoxShot v2 with some really nice features for mango as well as a brand new (less obscene) logo.
What other Windows Phone projects are you working on (excluding previous apps)?
Don’t really have any new Windows Phone projects on the go at the moment, a few updates to existing apps (BoxShot and NumberTap mainly). Working on a few web projects here and there and touching a bit on Windows 8.
What advice would you give to other aspiring developers?
Keep at it, just because your first app didn’t make millions doesn’t mean you should give up. For me Windows Phone development is just a bit of fun on the side, hopefully the fun stays in it.
Thank you for your time. Any closing words about WP7's future?
Thank you, I’m pretty excited to see what’s on the road ahead for Windows Phone. Whatever it is I’ll be there developing awesome new apps!
Check out Karzon's website, and be sure to follow him on Twitter.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.