Seven Questions with Developers: @myfreeweb

This is the latest in our weekly series Seven Questions for Developers on App.net, where we ask a different developer the same set of questions to learn a bit more about the people behind the apps. If you’d like to participate, contact @ben.

Our next developer is @myfreeweb, a web developer at a small company based in Moscow, Russia. @myfreeweb does not like vodka and bears. He also dislikes push notifications.

Screen Shot 2012-12-21 at 1.52.14 PMTell us about your App.net app. What are you looking to accomplish with it?

SupportApp is a Get Satisfaction-style customer support app for App.net. I want people who make App.net clients to use it for supporting their apps.

What qualities make a great app?

High performance, good UI, long request timeouts for mobile connections (eg. Twitterrific 4 was completely useless on my 3G), not losing data, x-callback url support for iOS apps.

What tools are important to you as a developer?

Heroku, GitHub, Chrome, iTerm2, tmux, vim, git, fish, ack, and ctags.

Why did you decide to build something on App.net?

I had a few ideas about annotations. That particular feature really inspired me, and I understood App.net being “not just a Twitter alternative” after annotations were introduced.

What got you started writing code?

When I was about six years old, I was bored of playing games, and I learned how to write DOS scripts (*.bat, if I remember it correctly) that write words to the console. A few years later, I found MIDletPascal on the internet and started trying to make mobile Java applications. Some time later I learned PHP and started making web apps. Then JavaScript, Python, Ruby, C, Java, Clojure, Scala and so on.

Any advice for aspiring developers (all the young coders out there)?

Learn a lot of languages. Use Vim or Emacs. Or both. Watch Destroy All Software screencasts. Find the UNIX way in x-callback-url and the Single Responsibility Principle. And other things.

Don’t forget preprocessors (SASS, TypeScript, etc.) aren’t a new hipster thing, see m4. Your assumptions about real-life data like date/time and people’s names are wrong.

And, by the way, gender should be a text field (like on MetaFilter and Diaspora). Unless you only care about personal ad targeting (like Facebook).

Speaking of ads, when you think about ads, think Fusion/Carbon/Deck/BuySellAds, not AdSense.

Use HTML5 input types when developing for the web. Send email in plain text. Posting a link to your open source project to Reddit gives you 50 watchers on GitHub for free.

Don’t tell people to RTFM.

Write good documentation (if you want to learn how, look at Python projects. Python has a great culture of documentation.)

Read this: http://blog.wilshipley.com/2011/04/success-and-farming-vs-mining.html

Try making a simple content app (a scrolling list with pictures and text) for Sony PlayStation Vita using their UI framework.

When you’re not coding you’re…

Probably taking photos of random stuff. Or listening to podcasts, watching videos, reading books or blog posts.