Jason Carter is a very accomplished developer on the BlackBerry 10 platform and has one of the most popular games available in BlackBerry World -- Words Plus.
Jason is a native of Canada and he and his brother Quincy are the guys behind TwoCasualCoders.com. These two have brought us the great Cascades BBM integration open source code ‘HelloBBM’ that many Cascades developers use for BBM integration.
Jason is a great guy who is very humble and down to earth. I wanted to talk with Jason for quite some time, and I was glad that he took the time to do this interview.
How many apps have you done? Are you currently working on one now?
I have 2 games in BlackBerry World, WordsPlus and Sequent. Currently, I’m concentrating on bug fixes and enhancing the feature of WordsPlus but I have a few ideas of games I’d like to work on or games I think would be just fun to work on.
Is BlackBerry the only platformfor which you develop? Do you also build for iOS and/or Android? If yes, how does developing for BlackBerry compare to the others?
My first entry into mobile development was for Windows Phone, I created a game similar to Sequent during the summer of 2012. Currently, I plan to make BlackBerry my main/only platform I develop for.
And when it comes to platform comparison, I have a number of years coding with the .NET framework and honestly I find Microsoft’s development tools to be amazing. Developing WordsPlus on the new BB10 platform and tools is fun but frustrating in comparison to Visual Studios. However, VS is a very mature tool set and I’m sure BlackBerry’s tool will improve over time.
What was your motivation for starting app development? Is there another developer that influenced you?
My brother, Quincy Carter, is a huge BlackBerry fan and once BB10 beta 1 came out with Cascades he was on it and coding up his very first app, Launch Codes. He’s the one that really convinced me to make something for the new platform. I was hesitant at first, but figured they’ll be a lot of great opportunities on a new platform. And honestly, being Canadian and BlackBerry being a great Canadian technology company, I have a soft spot for them and wanted to be a part of their come back story?
What is your preferred programming language? Would you be interested in learning another language? (i.e. from HTML --> Cascades)
Are any of your apps Built for BlackBerry™(BFB) certified? If so, do you have any tips for new developers on being BFB certified?
I have 2 games (3 technically), Sequent, WordsPlus and WordsPlus: Free Edition. Out of those, both WordsPlus games are BFB.
Tips. Hmm, I could say just follow the guidelines but that would just qualify you to be considered. For me, I went with the attitude of building the best game I can make. I wanted a game that looked clean and was intuitive to use by the end user. Also, I wanted something that looked and felt like it could have been a game actually built by BlackBerry as a pre-installed app.And what I mean by that is I wanted to use sheets, peek and flow, pull down application menu and all of the other BlackBerry 10 specific features and functionality available to me. And not just throwing those features in but integrating them in a way that made sense.
I honestly believe WordsPlus was awarded BFB certification not only because it’s a nice game but also because it show cases BlackBerry 10 features, functionality and UI in a great package. WordsPlus was designed specifically for BB10 and just by that alone it will never be on another platform.
Did you have formal schooling for developing or are self taught? Did you attend any BlackBerry Jam sessions for additional education?
Yes, I have a Software Engineering degree. I haven’t attended any of the BB Jam sessions; all of my BlackBerry development skills is from my technical background and BlackBerry’s online documentation. And also the forums, there are some great and helpful developers in the forums.
What are pointers or advice you could give to new developers? Where could they look to get a good start?
I recommend new developers to start small. It’s not that interesting but the fundamentals will get you very far. Jumping into something complicated might get you somewhere fast but if you don’t understand how you got there, you’ll never learn how to make enhancements to your app and even worse, the next app you do you’ll end up starting from scratch instead building on top of your previous knowledge.
For me, BlackBerry’s online documentation and developer forum were the best places to start.
How do you advertise your applications? Do you have a dedicated website or do you utilize social networking (i.e. Facebook, or Facebook page, Twitter)?
I do everything and anything possible. I have landing page (TwoCasualCoders.com), a Facebook page (facebook.com/wordsplusgame), tell my Facebook friends, a Twitter page (@jasonicarter), and I write guest blog posts and try to get reviews. Any visibility is good visibility.
Which BlackBerry do you use as your main device?
I use my white Z10.
Are you a full time developer? How long have you been doing this for?
My career is in IT as a software developer and analyst. I’ve developed mostly .NET desktop, ASP.NET and PHP websites for since 2004. I started doing mobile development in the summer of 2012.
Check out Jason's Apps in BlackBerry World.