The Team

A few intrepid developers and designers from Mutually Human are embarking on a two-week challenge to develop Inspire for a variety of mobile platforms.

The teams so far (at least according to the sign-up sheet):

Native iOS – Mark and Victor
Windows 7 – Matt, Ryan and Ray
Native Android – Chris and Sung

Meet Chris

“By creating a mobile version of Inspire, non-profit organizations can keep in touch on the go.”

What will your role be in the creation of a mobile app for Inspire?

My role will be to implement the native Android version of the Inspire mobile app.

Why is it important that Inspire have a mobile component?

Our customers have shown a demand for Inspire on the go. Right now they can only find contacts, and maintain communication with volunteers and donors through a computer. We can’t always carry a laptop around with us. By creating a mobile version of Inspire, non-profit organizations can keep in touch on the go.

What challenges are you anticipating?  

I expect the Android version to be a daunting task. Several Humans have had experience with Java in the past (myself included). And we’ve learned to love Ruby and other tools because of it.

But, Android is a platform that cannot be neglected. … Since I have had little Android development experience, I expect myself to bump into obstacles at every turn while acclimating myself to a development ecosystem that I’m unfamiliar with.

What are you looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to learning something new (Android Development). I’m also looking forward to collaborating with Sung on this project.

 Meet Matt

“Native applications can directly target their platforms, and the devices they run. The connection between an application and the device its on is much deeper and more innate.”

What will your role be in the creation of a mobile app for Inspire?

I plan on developing a Windows Phone 7 native version of the Inspire Mobile application.

Why is it important that this app be available on multiple platforms?

Platforms reflect a difference in people and their unique choices. By making Inspire available to a wide variety of platforms, we help ensure that an Inspire user gets a quality experience and value from the application, regardless of their personal platform preferences.

What challenges are you anticipating?  

From a technical end, the platform technology is very vendor specific, and a technology stack I have not worked with in a few years. I may have to spend more time than usual ramping up on changes to the .NET development environment to get re-aquainted to that workflow.

From a personal end, the time limit is likely the most pressing issue. Two weeks is a rather short amount of time, particularly if it only involves nights and weekends. This, above all, will likely be the biggest challenge for me.

What are you looking forward to?

Playing with hardware! I have a strong affection for gadgets and hardware. While I love web development and web applications, they tend to be jailed inside browser ‘sandboxes’, which by nature implies a strong disconnect between the application and the tangible hardware it runs on. (You don’t write web apps for devices, you write web apps for browsers)

Native applications can directly target their platforms, and the devices they run. The connection between an application and the device its on is much deeper and more innate. This allows for capabilities and user experiences that often can’t be delivered (or can’t be delivered well) through a browser.

Meet Ryan

“I expect to learn a lot about technologies I don’t play with all the time. Learning while being expected to deliver can be challenging.”

Why is it important that this app be available on multiple platforms?

Being accessible to the most platforms means being accessible to the most number of people. We want our customers to be surprised when we haven’t thought of everything, not when we do.

What challenges are you anticipating? 

Personally I will have to balance work and life. Technically I expect to learn a lot about technologies I don’t play with all the time. Learning while being expected to deliver can be challenging.

What are you looking forward to?

Working with the team on something awesome; the same as pretty much every other day.

Meet Sung

“Multiple platforms can allow greater familiarity and personalization for individuals, as well as ensure consistent functionality for necessary features.”

What will your role be in the creation of a mobile app for Inspire?

I will help develop the interface for an Android platform (HTC Evo).

Why is it important that Inspire have a mobile component?

Inspire can help teams and organizations access relevant people more quickly and with mobile, anywhere and anytime they get coverage.

 

Why is it important that this app be available on multiple platforms?

Multiple platforms can allow greater familiarity and personalization for individuals, as well as ensure consistent functionality for necessary features.

What challenges are you anticipating?  

Two weeks is pretty short for me.

What are you looking forward to?

Working with smart people and doing the robot.

Meet Zach 

“Not too long ago I’d do all nighters for fun, but now that I’m pushing 30 I can barely stay awake to midnight. In a way I’m really looking forward to having the hackfest span 2 weeks. This way it can work with my old man clock.”

What will your role be in the creation of a mobile app for Inspire?

I will be the Inspire development team. I’ll be responsible for providing the API in the Inspire app to successfully communicate with all of these mobile applications.

Why is it important that Inspire have a mobile component?

We’re finding out from people using and who want to use Inspire that they most frequently access their contacts on their mobile devices and smart phones. So I’d say it’s most important because it’s something users of Inspire have expressed as something very valuable to them; to be able to access their contacts while they’re out and about.

Why is it important that this app be available on multiple platforms?

From a Mutually Human perspective it’s important because it allows our team to engage in new technologies together by organically forming teams around technologies we’re interested in. It helps us grow individually and together, and it gives us all something to teach another team member about. Since I’m being the “vendor” and am not working on a mobile app this time around I’m excited to hear and learn about how the different apps were approached, designed, and built for their target platforms.

What challenges are you anticipating?  

The two week duration will require me to focus on what I can and cannot do. This will be a good challenge to help me focus and make realistic commitments when it comes to making the Inspire API available to the mobile teams.

It will also be challenging to make sure I am fresh each day, both at work, and for the mobile app challenge. It’s going to be a long two weeks and I’ll need to find a groove in my sleeping patterns to make sure I’m re-energizing each night. Once it’s over I look forward to taking it easy in the weeks following the challenge.

What are you looking forward to?

It’s been a while since we’ve done a hack fest, so I’m definitely excited about a hack fest!. As much fun as coding by yourself can be a blast, there’s something to cranking up the music, ordering pizza, and having a good time with other smart people.  Although I’ll admit I feel like this is the middle-aged version of a hackfest. Not too long ago I’d do all nighters for fun, but now that I’m pushing 30 I can barely stay awake to midnight. In a way I’m really looking forward to having the hackfest span 2 weeks. This way it can work with my old man clock.

Meet Grace

I’m Grace.  I’m not a developer.  But I do sort of work here. I’ve created this blog, not only to follow the adventures of a few dedicated Humans, but to provide a learning resource for any developer attempting to learn more about mobile apps.  If you have questions, please email me at grace@mutuallyhuman.com or tweet @mutuallyhuman, and I’ll make sure someone on the team responds.

Cheers.




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