TB: How long was gReadie in development before you launched it? Did the introduction of new APIs and background agents in Mango simplify or complicate the development?
CS: The earliest work on gReadie started around July 2010 when the developer tools were in early beta. It wasn’t until around September that development picked up steam to get readied for launch in October. The upgrade process to Mango was similar in duration a couple of months. In neither case was the development full time. gReadie is generally developed on quiet afternoons at the office, or on my own time at home.
TB: How many developers contribute to gReadie? Is it safe to assume you are an independent developer for gReadie? As an "indie" developer, what are some tips you can offer others on how to launch (getting the word out, following up, traffic spikes, etc.)?
CS: Although released through my employer, I am the sole developer of gReadie and have been for it’s entire duration. If you are starting out, then it is definitely important to get someone to talk about your app. All the WP7 news sites have tipforms where you can let them know about your app, and I find, they are generally quite happy to give you a mention. Secondly, I would suggest making sure you are happy with your logo and that the app is at least stable at first release. New apps are featured in the marketplace, and there are many users who scour the newest apps each day to see what is there. You only get one chance to catch their eye and impress them, so don’t miss it by rushing to market and planning to tidy up the loose ends later. Finally, I would say get on Twitter. It’s a great way to engage your customers and offer support. I can turn around a support query in 15 seconds if I have my twitter client running and know the answer. That impresses anyone.
TB: How much help has Microsoft provided, directly or indirectly, in getting issues resolved and getting your app in the marketplace?
CS: Microsoft have been a mixed bag; they are definitely excited about the platform, and making progress. But everything feels glacial when you are watching a company of that size do anything. If you have a development question, then StackOverflow is a better destination than the Microsoft forums. For internal support relating to certification and the app hub though, they do actually answer support requests lodged; so that is a good start. It would just be nice to see things iterate more quickly, whether that be the phone OS, the app hub site or the dev tools. Bugs in any of them take far too long to get sorted out. I think if they apply the model they have now to Windows 8, they are going to have a huge headache on their hands.
TB: Finally, any thoughts on what’s in store for gReadie in 2012 and beyond?
CS: In terms of features, I am pretty happy with the current offering from gReadie. There will always be more to add of course, but I think the basics are in place. I am very interested in working on a large screen UI for gReadie, the end result of this might be a Windows 8 app, an HTML 5 web app or even an Xbox app if Microsoft open the platform up. At this stage I have no plans for new WP7 apps, the truth is that the numbers are just not there yet. But I will continue to support the platform with the apps I have there already and see where I can take them.