Another winner in the Red Gate Windows Phone 7 Application build competition was Richard Fennell from Black Marble for his TFS ExplorerApp. The app lets users keep tabs on their Team Foundation Server and create and edit work items while on the road. Judges “loved the practicality of the app” and said “It showed creative thought about what would deliver the most value in the mobile environment.”
I asked Richard and the Black Marble team some questions about the competition and developing for WP7 but before you read those, check out their entry video for the competition.
Was it the Redgate competition that inspired you to write the app or were you already working on it?
Partly as an exercise for our team, we developed a game for WP7 called O7 (http://bit.ly/gQdaYF), which is a strategic tile game, and after we put it into Marketplace, we were looking for a second project – something separate to what we were doing for customers. The Redgate competition was asking for something that would specifically delight developers, and we know what makes us happy! We have Windows 7 touch screens around the office and meeting rooms with our Build Monitors application running, and we thought how cool it would be to migrate it to the phone. Thus we developed our TFS Explorer (http://bit.ly/m6Iz0M).
How did you find developing for WP7 against other mobile platforms?
Developing for WP7 is a lot easier than developing against other mobile platforms, even Windows Mobile which we have done for years. As a .NET development company, we were already set up to develop, deliver and deploy. The richness of .NET and SilverLight and amazing Visual Studio tooling means you only have to concentrate on your ideas, not on beating the platform into shape, fighting unproductive developer tools or switching development environments. Plus the experience of moving between Microsoft platforms (Windows 7, Microsoft Surface, Windows Phone 7) is simplified.
Are you continuing to develop for WP7? If so, what’s in the pipe?
Yes, we are continuing to develop for WP7 but unfortunately we can’t discuss the interesting customer projects that are taking our WP7 resource at the moment. We are looking at enhancements for the TFS application and we have a colour wheel application (selecting colour harmonies) that is waiting to go to MarketPlace.
As a developer, do you have any of the other competition entries on your phone?
Iron7, which is Ruby on Phone 7 is definitely there, but with the majority of Black Marble having a Windows Phone 7 I’m sure there’s more out there!
What are you going to do with the $10,000?
We will use it for International Conferences and other benefits for the team at Black Marble. As a team effort we thought that was the best way to reward everyone.