The great thing about meeting new people is that you invariably take away a little bit of who they are. I have been following Michael’s blog for a while now and it was really great to catch up with him.
I had the privilege of asking him a few questions about himself, Telerik, XAML and IT in general. What I took away was that Michael is an extremely humble man, given all that he is involved with. Check out the Q&A below, and learn more about Michael Crump.
Michael Crump is a Microsoft MVP, Pluralsight and MSDN author as well as an international speaker. He works at Telerik as a developer evangelist with a focus on the XAML control suite. You can reach him on Twitter at mbcrump or keep up with his blog by visiting michaelcrump.net.
Michael Crump – MVP, MCPD
1. Who is Michael Crump? Please tell me about your background, personal and professional.
I work at Telerik as a Developer Evangelist out of Alabama. I primarily work with everything XAML, my passion is with Windows Phone, but I have recently been branching out into native iOS and Android development to help myself and others understand the differences.
I got my first programming gig back in 2002, and since have been working with all kinds of different languages. I also had the pleasure of programming in COBOL and RPG (even though I’m trying to forgot it). Over the years, I’ve been given several awards including a Microsoft MVP Award, which I’m honored to be a part of the program.
2. You have recently published another great MSDN Magazine article; Upgrading Windows Phone 7.1 Apps to Windows Phone 8. Apart from being a great article, it has to be a real kick being able to write for MSDN Magazine. Tell me a bit more about writing for MSDN Magazine
I’ve written articles for a lot of magazines and I must say writing for MSDN challenges you in every way. Besides writing a technical article, it has to go through several rounds of edits. They check grammar as well as technical accuracy. The final pass is a MS employee that reviews it and make sure everything is correct. There is actually an in-depth article on how to write for MSDN that anyone thinking of writing for them should read.
3. You work for Telerik. How has that grown you as a developer and your views on software development?
Telerik is what I call the “majors” in the software industry. Every day you get to work with the absolute best software developers around the world. I would have never had the chance to learn so much in such a short amount of time if I was working at any of my previous jobs. The other benefit is working with a wide variety of technologies. Before Telerik, I worked with a limited set of technologies. Now I am learning about the various web, desktop, mobile technologies.
4. What does a typical work day look like?
I start my day pretty much like anyone else, I check my e-mail and look at the various blog aggregator sites and keep current with what is going on. I usually sync up with my product teams and may begin writing some code or a blog post or helping a customer with an issue. Other times, I may be presenting at a conference or helping run the Telerik booth.
5. What do you do to keep up to date with what is going on in IT? What are you favorite blogs etc.?
After Google Reader died, I decided that I’d rely on top quality blog aggregator sites like the ones listed below to keep me up to date with technology:
6. How did you start programming? Where did it all start for you?
QBasic was installed on one of the PC’s back when I was in school. I used it to write my own role-playing game which pretty much involved PRINT, CLS, INPUT and IF THEN END IF statements. The game went on to be played by 1 person total and that was me. At that moment, I was hooked and decided to work towards learning programming more in-depth. After high school, I went to college and obtained a degree in Computer Science.
7. As far as tools you use in development, what do you use to make your job easier?
Not to sound like a commercial, but I use Telerik’s tools all day long. From within Visual Studio, I use JustCode and JustTrace. Whenever I want to decompile programs, I use JustDecompile. Other than that, I use a variety of our controls in my own apps that makes my life easier. I also am a fan of WinMerge (I actually met the creator), Fiddler2, RealVNC and Skype.
8. I like asking this question; what does your desk setup look like?
I have a W520 docked to two 23” monitors. One is a touch-screen, and works great with Windows 8. I also use a high-end Logitech keyboard and a gaming mouse (G9x Laser by Logitech). I have a variety of phones plugged in including a Lumia 920, iPhone 5 and a few others.
9. Developers these days have many resources at their disposal. What would your advice be to guys and girls starting out, especially in the XAML/WPF sphere?
Hands down pick up Applications = Code + Markup by Charles Petzold.
If you are short on cash, then I’d suggest started with the MSDN Developer Network.
10. You are a Microsoft MVP. How do you manage to keep it fresh?
Presenting, blogging and being on Twitter is the three things I’m the most passionate about. If you really want to learn a technology, submit it to a code camp or conference and you will be motivated to work on it. If you find a link worthy of sharing, tweet it! More than likely if you run into a technical problem then someone else has as well – so blog about it!
11. What one bit of technology can’t you do without?
Skype – I’m a remote worker and have been for a couple of years. I’ve found Skype to be one of the best ways to keep in touch with my co-workers or give presentations over the web. Dropbox would come in as a close second as I love synching all my files from my PCs to my MacBook Air.
12. I saw that you were lucky enough to be involved in the Mozilla Phones for Apps program. How are you enjoying that? The phone looks great.
Even though this is a preview build, the phone is still great. I have been experimenting with several apps using native web and I believe with all the documentation and support from Mozilla that it has potential to do some excellent things. Some pics of the phone are provided here.
13. Staying productive as a developer is a challenge with all the possible distractions that can impact our daily lives. What do you do to stay productive?
Close Twitter (or other social media apps), limit the amount of messaging clients that you have on and find a quiet place to work. That works very well for me!
14. What is your take on Windows 8 and the imminent release of Windows 8.1? (Did you miss the start button?)
I just installed Windows 8.1 RTM on my Lenovo X1 Carbon Touch and I must say that I like it. From the new backgrounds, tile sizes to the new apps and API. It looks and feels great! I am really excited that both the Windows Phone and Windows OS API are closely coming together.
No, I didn’t miss the start button.
15. Can you talk about one of the current projects you are working on? (Professionally or on your own)
I’m currently spending a lot of time catching up with other mobile platforms. I have already built a RSS Reader in XCode 5/iOS 7 that after I polish it, then I will submit it to the store as a personal branding app. This is my first project on the platform and I’ve learned a lot!
16. Have you had the chance to play around with Visual Studio 2013? What are some of the features you are most excited about?
Yes, the improvements in Intellisense (XAML), Go to Definition Support (XAML), New Templates for Win 8.1 (Hub App and Coded UI Test Project) just to name a few.
17. What do you do to relax? How do you switch off from everything that pings and tweets?
Books and TV. I love reading books that are non-technical, but help you advance your career. As far as TV goes, I watch a lot of science fiction or horror movies or TV shows.
18. Do you have any ‘can’t live without’ gadgets?
My various tablets and phones. I use them to entertain my kids (at times) as well as consume information from the web. They also keep my entertained as I’m traveling.
19 .What is the most challenging thing for you with regards to developing for Windows Phone?
I’m lucky in the fact that I came from a XAML background with C#. But people new to Windows Phone will definitely need to get up to speed with XAML/C#/VB first before digging in. Here is a link most will find helpful.