Speaking to different people over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed a golden thread running through the lives of each of these individuals. That golden thread is a passion for what they do.
If you have been following along the past couple of Friday’s, you will know that I have been highlighting some truly remarkable individuals on my blog. Today’s interview is no different. I was fortunate enough to chat to Kunal Chowdhury about what makes him tick.
Kunal Chowdhury is a Microsoft MVP (Silverlight), a Telerik MVP, Speaker in various Microsoft events, Author, passionate Blogger and a Software Engineer by profession. He is also a Nokia Developer Champion for his contribution towards Windows Phone and Nokia Lumia.
Kunal Chowdhury – Meet The Man
1. Who are you?
Myself, Kunal Chowdhury from India, passionate blogger and software engineer by profession. Presently I am working as a Technical Lead in an MNC. I love my job working as a Software Professional there. My company works mainly on Silverlight, WPF, Windows Phone and other Microsoft technologies. Apart from my job, I write articles for the developers based on my learnings and share them in my blog www.kunal-chowdhury.com. I also participate in various Microsoft User Group events as a speaker & organizer.
Currently I am holding Microsoft MVP award in Silverlight technology. I am also a Telerik MVP, C# Corner MVP and a Nokia Developer Champion.
2. Your particular passion lies with Silverlight among others. As a .Net developer, how steep was the learning curve with Silverlight.
From the beginning my tendency was to work in Microsoft platform but due to some project requirements I was pushed to work with Java team. Hence started my career in non-Microsoft platform and got the chance to explore various technologies during that time period of 4 months. I remember, it was February 2008 when I was moved back to Microsoft platform and got the first chance to explore pre Silverlight 2 beta 1.
It was not so hard for me to learn Silverlight as I was doing a live project for one of our client side-by-side. As the back end is pure C#, I had to focus on front end only to understand the XAML. I started posting my queries in Silverlight forum and noting down the answers. Gradually I started contributing my thoughts and answers in the forum. The amount of correct answers motivated me answering in the forums and watch out the issues that a developer face while building apps in Silverlight.
Not a tough time but I admit that I learnt a lot about Silverlight during my whole professional life. Being a developer, I like designing UI too when it comes to XAML and Blend. As the technology changes and Silverlight adopted by many organization for various application, faced a lot many challenges, solutions and possible workarounds. Still I am learning and continuing the best with it.
3. As a .Net professional, in your opinion, what is the industry response to Silverlight?
Many clients still prefer their applications in Silverlight for various reasons and they are mainly from digital media content publication (whatever that is). During my last 6 years of professional career, I mainly worked in Silverlight applications and saw the demand of it in various scenarios when it comes for web or intranet.
4. Tell me a little bit about the tools you use to create software with.
As a .Net professional you must need Visual Studio to develop applications. All my development environments are well equipped with Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2013 and Blend as I need both of them regularly. Telerik is my favourite 3rd party libraries and I regularly use them in all my projects, whether it is a company app or a personal app.
I also use Syncfusion Metro Studio 2 for building icons for my Windows Phone and Windows Store apps. On need base, I use SnagIt and Camtasia from TechSmith. For blogging, my favourite editor is Windows Live Writer which I use to write and edit my blog posts.
5. What does your desk set-up look like?
My office desktop is setup with dual screen monitor but sometime I wish to have more than two while working. In home, work table has my Laptop, Microsoft Surface and few Windows Phones sitting side by side which I need most of the time.
6. How do you keep up to date with what is going on in the world of IT?
Most of the time I read the updates in Twitter and Facebook. Those are my favourite social networking sites to stay tuned with latest news, technical updates, articles and many more. I don’t feel them as waste of time but I use them for valued reason. I follow more than 10 blogs/sites to know about the latest going on in technology front.
7. For new developers wanting to start out discovering Silverlight, what advice can you give them.
For the new developers who are going to start with Silverlight, my suggestion is to continue with that as industries still prefer it when it comes to media. Learn more about C#/VB and XAML which you will need in every step building apps for Windows Phone, Windows Store and desktop apps like WPF. I still see maximum hits in the Silverlight Tutorials section hosted in my blog.
8. Do you have a pet hate or a secret addiction?
I don’t have anything like that but I feel good writing blog posts, building small apps for Windows Phone / Windows Store and contributing to the developer community. You may say it like a secret addiction but I really feel good and proud to be one of the community contributor.
9. The LightSwitch community is a big one. When I recently first started exploring LightSwitch and needed assistance, there were many people willing to help. You have been working with LightSwitch for a while longer than I have. What was your experience when you first started out?
I too agree with you on LightSwitch and the community. People like Beth Massi, Michael Washington (ADefWebserver) and many others are there who are contributing a lot for the LightSwitch community. I regularly follow the articles published by Beth and Michael to keep me updated with LightSwitch.
When I first heard the name, I was in the dark cloud about what it can do. But when I started exploring it, I found that it reduces more than 90% of development effort. I wrote many articles on it which you can find easily in my blog and SilverlightShow. It’s the time factor to explore lot many technologies in Microsoft platform. So these days not getting enough time working on LightSwitch as now a days contributing more on Windows Phone and Windows Store, but yes, I still read few articles about it.
10. You mentioned Visual Studio 2013? What are your impressions of the IDE?
Yes, I had some time playing with it and documented some of it’s feature in my blog and you can find them here. Cloud synchronization, Reference Counter, Peek Definition window are just awesome and in my opinion, the new features and enhancements will definitely increase the productivity of the developers. The only thing that I am missing in Visual Studio 2013 is the support of Windows Phone 7 app development. Microsoft should keep it compatible for the developers.
11. What is the greatest challenge for you as a developer in your professional life?
When I write code, I just feel it like a game and enjoy every lines of it. When developing custom controls, I feel it like a mission that I have to complete. But the main challenge comes up in life when I have to work on a module developed by other developer who wrote a huge lines of code without any proper structure and/or naming conventions. This really bugs me. A method having 100+ lines of code with four different functions just irritates me. In case it’s a huge junk of code, I prefer to rewrite it without wasting time. Other case, I refactor it first and then solve out the issue.
12. Does any one project you have worked on in the past stand out for you as one that you are particularly proud of?
Yes, there are 2-3 projects but as you asked I will say about the one for which I feel to be a proud developer. That was my first Silverlight project (and .Net project too) where I worked with few designers to accomplish it within 15 days. Within that time, I had to learn about Silverlight too. Just want to mention, the project was well appreciated by the client.
13. Android, iOS or Windows Phone?
What is Android and iOS? You should not ask this question to a hard coded Microsoft guy! Jokes a part, I love Windows Phone and you won’t believe, I have 5 different Windows Phone devices at this moment for personal and app development/testing. Thanks to Microsoft and Nokia for sponsoring them in various occasion. Windows Phone 7 is now little outdated and I recommend Windows Phone 8 to the people who wants to buy a new phone.
14. What do you do to relax, in your free time between work, blogging and taking part in the community?
Most of my time, I am busy with blogging and community work after my office work. But when I get time to relax, either I enjoy listening songs or watching movies. Sometime I go out for a long walk that freshens my mind and body. Movies are my favourite, I don’t miss a single movie released in the weekend.
15. What are your goals for the future?
I am a true technology lover and passionate blogger. Like everyone, I have my own dream too. I want to focus on the latest technologies and 10 years down the line, I want to see myself to come closer to the developer community. I want to author a few books and develop some real world frameworks in coming days.