FW Editor: You have a rich CV that contains applications for both Android and Windows Mobile platforms. Which is your favorite mobile platform? Why
Dirk B.: I've always loved Windows Mobile and started out with a WM 2003 device years back. Actually I had been waiting for such a device for years, and even then I was hoping to get one someday that would combine the functionality with the one from my mobile phone. It's on this device I took my first programming steps. But it's not until I discovered the Androkkid UI, based on the Android UI, that I really started developing stuff. I wanted to recreate some of the functionality of other UI's, such as the HTC clock, and a functional widget for appointments and tasks. Then I started getting requests for other widgets, like a world clock, enhancements for the weather widget, etc. The result can now be found on my site.
Some months ago I purchased the HTC Legend. Compared to my good old HTC Touch Diamond, this was an updated and performant device, with loads of apps available. I started looking into programming my own apps and widgets, and Android offers a whole new development experience. I haven't gotten round to actually creating my own apps, but it's definitely on my wishlist. So, for now, Android is my favorite platform. Still, I'm curious on how Windows Phone 7 will do and how developers will pick it up.
FW Editor: From where this passion for mobile phones and software for mobile devices?
Dirk B.: I have an IT background and love tech and this type of devices, and how you can add functionality yourself by programming. It's a platform that's still evolving at high speed to new exciting levels. And you allways have it with you to play around with. It has my appointments, todo list, alarms, contacts, games, navigation software to get around, ... It's my world at the tip of my fingers.
FW Editor: Some of your applications are released under quite a particular donation based license. Basically, the application itself is completely free but a small donation will unlock a few additional features. Why this decision?
Dirk B.: I started out with a couple of widgets for Androkkid, mainly my own needs, and distributed them freely, hoping to get a donation now and then of a satisfied user, motivating me to continu the work. However, then I started getting requests for new features and widgets and started spending a lot of my time on this. Since people don't like paying for software, I set up a donation based licensing system. This is still mainly a hobby, but working for free for people I don't even know was not appreciated by all my family members. Since I didn't expect to make a lot of money, I used the well known and trusted PayPall system and based my licensing system on a private/public keypair, requiring people to contact me to generate an unlock file to try out the widgets or continu using them. This way I could get in contact, help them out if needed, and sometimes got new feature requests or ideas for new widgets.
By now all widgets are free. People interested in the widgets for Androkkid can download an unlimited unlock file from my site. Androkkid is a year old and no longer evolves. There are more and more alternatives, so it's time to move on.
I'd still like to thank some of the people that have helped me testing and optimizing the widgets.
FW Editor: From all your programs, which was the hardest to develop? Why
Dirk B.: WMD-Agenda was a though one. Accessing the outlook information via the .net compact framework using only VB.net took me quite a while, mainly for recurring appointments. I looked around for solution on the web, but nobody really seemed to have a solution. I finally managed to get it pretty stable, and the widget is still the one I'm most proud of.
Next to mastering outlook, getting the UI and graphics right, with the weather included, supporting themes, etc was quite a challenge as well.
FW Editor: WMD-Agenda Widget for Androkkid is a remarkable widget for Androkkid. What inspired you in developing this software?
Dirk B.: It was a widget I needed myself. I use the appointments and tasks features a lot on my phone and want the at hand without having to open an application or go through multiple screens before getting where I want. The widget was later extended with other user requests and needs, resulting in what it is now.
FW Editor: WMD-Agenda Widget for Androkkid includes a weather forecast for the next 5 days. How accurate is this weather forecast?
Dirk B.: The weather information is based on AccuWeather. Where I live it's on of the most accurate weather providers I've seen. And since WMD-Weather was introduced, WMD-Agenda can be configured to get its information from WMD-Weather of GorapsWeather (another weather widget for Androkkid). Both use AccuWeather though. WMD-Weather can be configured to update automatically, or manual updates are possible as well. WMD-Agenda will use the new data within a minute.
FW Editor: Thank you for your time and for this short interview. Good luck with your future developments and we are looking forward to see how WMD-Agenda Widget for Androkkid will evolve.
Dirk B.: Thanks for giving me a chance to share this. And as mentioned before, WMD-Agenda in my opinion is complete and will probably no longer evolve on Androkkid, but maybe someday reappear as an Android widget.
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