From Toronto, Canada!
I work professionally as a Transportation Planner using various programs such as ArcGIS and AutoCAD which have introduced me briefly to some programming in Python and HTML helping me in my personal app development.
Ever since I was in University I had been interested in building my own mobile app. I went to the University of Waterloo which is where BlackBerry began. When it was time for me to upgrade from my iPhone I chose to support local and bought a Z10 on launch day. It was quickly apparent that there was a lack of apps for the platform at the time which made me decide to be part of the solution as opposed to just abandoning the platform.
In the summer of 2013 BlackBerry held a competition called the BlackBerry Jam Camp in Waterloo which was a two-day trip to Waterloo to learn the basics of BlackBerry 10 programing and then the goal was to build a built for BlackBerry App during the following two months to get a free BlackBerry 10 device.
There were also bigger prizes for first, second and third places. I decided to participate in the competition and start my mobile development career!
Before the BlackBerry Jam Camp I had zero mobile development experience, but some hard work and a lot of help from the awesome BlackBerry Developer community allowed me to complete my app and win first place in the competition!
What drives me to continue to the platform is the HUB and how the OS makes the daily tasks I have to do with my phone so much simpler. As I mentioned earlier I came from an iPhone which was great for app selection but I realized that I didn’t really play games very often on my device and that my primary use was mainly messaging, social networking and Internet browsing. The hub was a godsend for me allowing me to quickly and effectively answer and receive emails, BBMs, texts, etc all in one inbox. The HUB has vastly improved since 10.0 and one of my favourite features now is pinch-to-view which allows me to quickly see all my unread messages.
Apart from the HUB my favourite aspect of the OS is the integrated share framework which makes it ridiculously easy to share content to any of your social networks or contacts. I never have to open 5 or 6 apps anymore to do my messaging and social networking. I mainly just do it all in the hub.
Currently I’m working on a few different apps including a Mixcloud.com native Cascades client (Kloudmix) as well as an app that will allow people the search and share hockey arenas across North America as well as navigate to them. I’m a hockey referee so this will definitely come in handy to me.
In the future I plan to work on some more enterprise focused apps especially data collection apps for companies who currently do in-person surveys.
I built my first app for the BlackBerry Jam Camp competition mentioned earlier. I chose to build an app that would allow users to save and share locations with users across all the major mobile OS. My mother and sister were constantly forgetting where they had seen a nice pair of shoes or a nice dress that they later wanted to return to or show a friend directions to.
Taking this as my inspiration I decided to build my app PinGuin which allows users to save locations and attach a photo with it as well as categorize it with a tag. When reviewing the location users could share the location or navigate to it using BlackBerry maps (sharing cross-platform opens up the shared location on the native map application in each OS by the way).
I later expanded on this functionality allowing users to add custom location tags and adding Pebble Integration through Talk2Watch allowing users to save locations through their smartwatch without having to enter the app and do it manually.