I started with Mobile application development purely as a hobby and as a means to learn something new. I bought a Nokia C7 (Symbian based) smartphone mainly for application development. Before starting this journey I was already part of Indian IT industry mainly in Java EE area and working as Technical Architect.
I chose BlackBerry mainly due to 2 factors:
- 1) BlackBerry 10 platform – When I initially looked into the platform a mobile OS based on QNX (RTOS) and offering Qt as development environment intrigued me. I was never a BBOS user in the past but BlackBerry 10 offered me a great continuation path from Symbian. I was also given Nokia Lumia 800 as a developer gift device from Nokia but based on my free time I had to choose between Windows Phone or BlackBerry 10 and overall BlackBerry 10 personally suited me better.
- 2) Symbian was declared dead, so I needed to shift my attention somewhere. BlackBerry developer relations team had a offer going for loaning Dev Alpha device to Qt developers. I jumped on this offer and never looked back. When I started BlackBerry 10 development my Symbian application was already quite well established and I had a choice of doing a quick and dirty port or rewrite application from scratch in Cascades to get maximum support from underlying BB10 platform. I am glad that I chose the latter which not only made the application move integrated but also offered lots of nice APIs to work with. I think I completed the effort and had a basic working version ready in about 3/4 weeks and application was live in app world shortly after the platform launch in January.
Looking at the roadmap the current roadmap looks quite good in terms of OS (not so in terms of devices as full touch devices have been put on backburner due to the enterprise focus).
There are some worries like Fragmentation of app stores (Amazon app world) and some confusion about if native apps which target normal consumers will be allowed in app world in future.
I am currently looking for next medium/high end full touch phone from BlackBerry as my next phone (upgrade from current Z10 LE edition) and plan to stay in this ecosystem as both user and developer. I personally feel BlackBerry offers currently one of the best development environment and I will continue to developer till that holds true.
My main motivation in development is learning new things and BlackBerry dev platform is helping me do that. Although I develop as a hobby I take the development and support very seriously and try my best to respond to feature requests/bug reports or general queries from the end users.
Currently I develop & maintain a Feedly/NewsBlur client for BlackBerry 10 calledgNewsReader.
As we all know Google stopped Google reader as a service while back so effectively both the orginal backend and platform of this application are now non existent. The Application had thrived despite is quite amazing considering this was done mainly as a Hobby project in my spare time.
When I initially planned to start developing mobile applications first question every application developer faces at the beginning is which application? For me the choice was simple because I was a heavy Google reader user and there were no good clients for the same on Symbian. When the application was ported to BlackBerry there was some initial competition with existing applications in app world but gNewsReader was able to outlast them all, survived the Google Reader shutdown.
The community support from BlackBerry ecosystem has been quite amazing including exchanges with fellow developer, user community, forums and blogger community and I will easily admit that the application owes a lot to the community.
It was also a great experience working with the Feedly team and I am quite happy that gNewsReader with Feedly support was available on the Feedly platform launch and endorsed officially on their site. I really like how accessible they are when I reach out to them and the response time is usually pretty good.