In past couple of months I had the honor to get invited from Microsoft Malaysia to conduct Windows Phone development workshops for students and professionals and share my personal experience as developer and trainer with them. In few workshops, I had the chance to get to know about 200 new developers who just get to know Windows Phone platform and eco-system and ready to develop amazing apps. And for those who already familiar with the platform, get a chance to improve the quality of their application by applying useful tips and tricks from the workshops.
In past couple of years with increasing of popularity of Windows Phone mobile operating system and increasing the number of the developers in the community, the competition with other mobile platform get more serious than before. Even though, the application development on Windows Phone platform is much easier than other mobile platforms, It doesn’t stop Microsoft from making the app development more easier, faster and even make it available to those who does not have programming background and may not be familiar to application development.
In 2013, Microsoft created web-based solution to ease the application development called Windows App Studio which allow the developers to create their application in few simple steps. The most important thing is, if you are not even experienced, you can follow Microsoft’s guide on how to use the App Studio where it has the step by step guide on how to use different features of App Studio to create useful and informative applications for Windows Phone and Windows 8.
I had the honor to get invited by Microsoft Malaysia to conduct the first Windows Phone rapid application development (RAD) in the region and train the students and professionals on how to speed up their development by using the App Studio. In past few weeks, I was grateful to have more than 100 participants and enthusiastic people how were interested in developing applications for Windows Phone and Windows 8 platforms. Continue reading
In case you missed the Discover My Apps Hackathon event which happened last weekend at Telekom Malaysia Convention Center (TMCC) sponsored by Microsoft Malaysia, Telekom Malaysia, Digital Media Prima, Multimedia Development Company (MDeC), Macro Kiosk, MakeWeekend and many other companies and organizations. The event started officially on Friday 29th of November around 6pm by crew briefing and development environment setup by the volunteer groups and Telekom Malaysia staffs.
I’ve joined the event on Saturday morning with couple of friends and made the late team registration and officially entered the Hackathon by name of “ShadowZ”. The ShadowZ team was consist of the main developer which I took it myself and gets the lead of the team and the designer role taken by Evelyn Wei (Tew Sheau Wei) and Charine (Tew Hui Enn) helped during the Hackathon with refreshments and foods.
Starting of the Hackathon was not as quiet as you may think; it started with an exciting music performed by local musicians while I was walking around to meet the friends who weren’t in touch for quite some time and meeting some of the sponsors and partners. One of the most exciting parts of any events or Hackathons is the chance to meet the people with bright ideas and amazing skills.
Microsoft has come up with awesome cool ideas to entertain the participants during the Hackathon. One of my favorites was throwing darts every time teams finish each stage of the development to get prizes like Starbucks Drinks and Local Foods. The other cool idea was the Hackathon Trophy which you only could get it if you can reach the milestone faster than others. After few hours of our presence in the Hackathon, the first team claims the Trophy by finishing their first milestone but after not long the team finished the first prototype development and claimed the Hackathon Trophy. By far, it was one of the achievements of the ShadowZ team to claim and hold the Hackathon Trophy for more than 24 hours to the end of the event without leaving any room for other teams to get it back.
Although our team joined the Hackathon on the second day’s morning, but the first application development was almost ready by the evening with the hard work of the team. After checking the Microsoft Certification requirements, we prepare to upload the application package to the Microsoft Store. The first step of the certification is Pre-processing which usually takes one hour and after that the Security test of the application takes around three hours which basically would apply for the applications with login system and involved with personal and confidential information. After passing the security tests, they will check on the technical parts of the application and it would takes around 6 hours and finally, reviewing the content of the application which can takes up to 5 days from the submission of the app. After that it’s the matter of couple hours for the application to be published worldwide to the Windows Store.
After submission of the first application and starting of the night, we had decided to start the development of the second and third application in the same time so we can save time by reducing the redundant work has to be done for each application. The trick was to assign each of the remaining applications to each member of the team, so by middle of the night we would have the basics of the apps and while everyone fall asleep at the night, we would take the advantage and finish the development of the apps by the morning. Base on my personal experience of participating Hackathons, most of the people feel frustrated after a day, but we had the advantage of getting use to the this experience and use the time after midnight to work harder and push our limits.
One of the good experiences during every Hackathon is when the other participants get to know you and your skills and when they are facing problems, they come to seek help. I was so glad that I was able to help couple of teams to solve the frustrating issues they had with their application development. Not to say that their skills was not enough to solve their own problem, as some of the teams had high knowledge about the technical stuff but as it was their first experience with Windows 8 platform, they had lack of information about designing and developing apps for Windows 8. I had an honor to work with Microsoft and Microsoft partners which gave me the opportunity to learn the guidelines of the application development on Microsoft platforms especially on Windows Phone and Windows 8.
It was a great experience to meet the brilliant people and take about the ideas and possibilities during the breaks after midnights. It was interesting in a way that they were frustrated, tired and sleepy but they were so excited to discuss their ideas and get feedback.
Feel free to download and review the following apps published to the Windows Store and available on ARM, x86 (32 bits) and x64 (64 bits) architects.