Mobile and IoT's Impact on Development and Testing: An Interview with James Montemagno


In this interview, James Montemagno talks about mobile's impact on development and testing. He points out some interesting facts and figures about the growth of mobile devices, as well as our current situation when it comes to the evolution of Internet of Things devices.

Josiah Renaudin: Today I'm joined by James Montemagno, a developer evangelist at Xamarin and speaker at our upcoming Mobile Dev + Test conference. James, thank you very much for joining us.

James Montemagno: Thank you so much for having me.

Josiah Renaudin: No problem at all. First, could you tell us just a bit about your experience in the industry?

James Montemagno: Sure. I've been a Dot Net, C# developer for over a decade I would say at this point. Ever since I found C#, the language, I fell in love with it. We also started with Basic and C, C++ and evolved and when I found C#, I was just blown away by the language features, its evolution, and then marrying it with Dot Net and this amazing library of functionality. I was like, this is the language and everything and where I need to be.

In the industry, I've gone through a lot of different areas. I used to do game programming. I did high-end, enterprise-level printer software. I've done web services and then about three years ago, I started a mobile career actually in Seattle. I've been a mobile developer for over three years now, let's say nearly four years. I've shipped over twenty apps between IOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Windows Store.

Josiah Renaudin: I can't help but ask. I'm a freelance journalist as my side job, a game journalist, so I'd like to know … what kind of game development have you done in the past?

James Montemagno: I actually went to a small tech school out in Phoenix, Arizona, called UAT and actually used to work on Xbox 360 downloadable titles for Xbox live Arcade. When I started there, I did my command line, text adventure type stuff and that progressed into wanting to be a game developer, and then I did it. I was like, "yeah, this is pretty awesome," and then I decided that I wanted to write printer software.

What I did mostly was gameplay programming for the space shooters called Shred Nebula—it was a downloadable title—during college and a little bit afterwards. It was great, actually. What ended up happening was interesting. I really enjoyed the game development side of it, but then I really fell in love with tools development. So, I was creating all these tools—these desktop tools for the artists and the game play designers—and that's when I found C#.

I was like, "This is exactly what I want to do is create these great tools, desktop applications." Nowadays, it's moved over to mobile, which is … we have these large legacy projects, which are still very important in the enterprise. But then in mobile, when I held this powerful device in my hand … this is like a supercomputer, and you could get in and out of applications and these are the experiences I want to create.

Josiah Renaudin: Absolutely, and you just mentioned mobile, which is a key focus of the conference as well as your specific discussion. Can you go over a few of the basic facts and figures when it comes to the number of smart phones out in the wild, as well as the number of applications downloaded daily and? And this next part of the question is a little more difficult … how much will that expand over the next decade?

James Montemagno: Those are good questions, and the statistics … actually, when I was doing research over the last few years of just mobile development and coming up for Mobil Dev + Test in general, there are more smartphones. just smart phones, in the world than personal computers nowadays. There's over 1.6 billion smart phones and they're being sold at a rate of 1.8 to 2 million devices a day.

When you think about that, that is nearly five times the amount of babies being born a day. There's one smartphone for about every four people on Earth. That's only smartphones. When you combine mobile devices, so even our legacy phones and then tablets into the mix, there are nearly 8 billion of those devices in the world, which is just astronomical. There are more devices than there are people.

That number is just set to grow, because people are just buying, not only upgrading their phones, but they're also buying more devices so more new form factors. You think of wearable devices, and Google Glass and Android Wear and Apple Watch. These are all smart devices so that just keeps adding to the number of these smart, connected devices.

Then, when I look at my collection of phones I not only have just a phone, I have a tablet, maybe two tablets, and then I have a Surface tablet for my keyboard. I have a Chromebook. There's all these devices. There's so many, and that's not the average consumer, but the average consumer alone at least has one to if not two devices in their possession.


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