Meet student developer Thomas Tsopanakis. His app Countdown for Windows Phone has reached the #2 spot of top paid apps on USA, UK and many other countries. We asked about his experience developing apps for Windows Phone, here's what he told us:
What inspired you to start developing?
I’m easily inspired to do things. I always liked building things – I liked engineering and technology. I started coding when I entered the Mechanical Engineering department of National Technical University of Athens and have been involved with mobile development for the last 2 years now. I work on iOS and Windows Phone platform and my app Countdown has been a massive success for both.
The most inspiring thing about being a mobile developer is the fact that you can easily reach thousands of users around the world and provide a piece of software that can make their lives a little better. It's fascinating how you can affect people's life with only just an app.
Please tell us a bit about your experience with Windows Phone and developing apps.
I love the Windows Phone platform because it is different and innovative. Microsoft in creating the platform decided to add a different dimension into the smartphone mix. It's very simple and the concept of information at a glance - live tiles really sets it apart from the competition. That's why I try to integrate all those great features that the platform offers into my apps. When I develop a Windows Phone app, I spend a lot of time on user experience. UX is really important. It’s something you see immediately and get a reaction from right away, especially when doing user testing. You get very different reactions from people when showing them designs with different colors and shapes. Windows Phone platform has been a big success for me, as my apps have reached top spots on charts, which gives me extra motivation to continue updating them with new features and functionalities.
Could you tell us about the apps that you have built?
I have 5 apps right now published at the Windows Phone Store. Here are the most successful:
With my app Countdown, you can count down to unlimited events and dates with a unique and accurate way. Countdown integrates a lot of features like live tiles, lock screen notifications, Skydrive backup, calendar import and a bold minimalistic design that windows phone users have come to expect. Countdown has been a HUGE success and has reached the #2 spot of top paid apps of all categories in a bunch of countries, including US, UK, Canada, Australia and many more and the #1 spot of the category Tools+Productivity. Only in USA and UK, it maintains a strong 4.5-star rating from over 2,300 and 1,000 reviews respectively. It has been in the top 50 paid apps for over 2 months now. Countdown has a user base of almost 100,000 and has been featured in numerous stores. It has also been included in the Live Tiles Showcase collection of Windows Phone Store.
Moreover,I'm really glad that websites like WPCentral and AllAboutWindowsPhone have already published articles about my app.
Date & Time Calculator is the perfect tool to work with time. It is by far the best and most accurate and flexible date and time calculator available for Windows Phone! It has a user base of 15,000 and is right now at the #1 spot of top paid Business apps in many stores including US,UK and Canada. What makes it unique is that it integrates 9 different time functions, like time difference, date ranger, time zones, work days, add/multiply... in one app.
Scientific Calculator is designed for everyone looking for simplicity and functionality. You can enjoy using a standard calculator for basic operations or extend it into a scientific one for more complex calculations. Scientific Calculator is one of the top 50 free education apps in the US store.
Anything that you have had to overcome while developing?
Motivation and time management are super important, especially for me because I work solo. I had to motivate myself to keep pushing forward. A lot of people who have worked on development projects can understand this. There is always something that comes up and delays development, shifts deadlines, and changes the release date. You need to have realistic goals, keep pushing forward, and innovate in every possible way.
Any advice you have for students ?
First and foremost, understand what you are trying to accomplish. You need to have a clear roadmap and understanding of the features and functionality of your app and its target group. I usually say that "the app matters." You don't need to worry that much about a release date, marketing, cross-promotion, websites, etc. Just make a good app and the rest will follow. Finally, not giving up would probably be the best advice. You can spend a lot of time on one app just to see it fail, and if you don’t keep believing in yourself, you’re not really going to do good. It’s a great lesson learned to know how the system works and know all of these aspects of mobile app development, and you just have to keep learning and come back stronger. Success is just at the end of the corner!
i will like to be a developer like you can you train me. pls send your phone number to me i will call you i really want to know how to create apps
Nice app.. I'm going to create a app for windows 8 PC. I hope i can do it .