(This is a guest post by Dave D. from ThisGreenMachine.com. The original article can be found at this link.)
Developer Spotlight is a new feature on This Green Machine with a focus on diving into the mind of the every day developer. Each feature will consist of a screen shot of the developer’s current home screen, along with a few simple questions to get to know the people whose products we use daily. Please note that the interview and all contact was conducted via email.
As I wrote my previous editorial, “Android Skins: Beautiful, or only skin deep?”, I began to wonder about the men who were actually in charge of creating our manufacturer-skin haven. Were the creators of the widely popular ADW Launcher and Launcher Pro really just “guys coding in their basements?” With each launcher accredited with more than 250,000 downloads on the market, it’s hard to imagine a one-man operation in charge of creating such a feature-rich experience. Being a current user of ADW Launcher via CyanogenMod 6.0, I was curious to find out, exactly who was the man behind the launcher curtain?
My initial efforts in tracking down the creator of ADW Launcher proved frustrating. Looking for www.ADWLauncher.com? It doesn’t exist. The first Google search hit produced a link to ADW Things. Surely, this couldn’t be the site for one of the best known launchers in the Android world! Maybe he really is just some guy coding out of his basement. I slowly realized that this actually was the developer’s app weblog, complete with “Buy me a beer!” donation buttons, but lacking any contact information. Then it dawned on me, the Android Market includes an “About the developer” section that should have all the contact information I would need.
Often mistaken for his real name, AnderWeb is actually the alias of our spotlighted developer. Ander, as he is often referred to, is the epitome of the home-grown Android developer. Having only been developing for Android since March of 2010, Ander’s ADW Launcher has followed the same trajectory of Android’s growth, showing considerable success in a very short period of time. Armed with a Nexus One and an HTC Magic, Ander is a self-proclaimed lover of technology, whose passions for learning and problem solving have been his greatest catalysts. Monetary goals were never a focus; rather, true to the nature of Android’s open source history, Ander saw a problem and decided to solve it himself. And for that, we all owe him some thanks.
Five questions with AnderWeb:
1) Are you really just a guy in his basement who thought he’d create a launcher one day?
Yes, I am. Actually, I didn’t think “I’m gonna create a launcher”, I just made a little modification to the stock one, and other ones started coming.
2) What was your main reason for deciding to create a launcher?
Because it’s the “main face” of an Android phone. I like having it nice.
3) How did ADW’s inclusion in CyanogenMod come about, and how has it changed your exposure?
Well, Steve took it into CyanogenMod just because he and the team wanted to include it. ADW is open source so everyone can take it and make whatever they want with it. Obviously, I have been trying to meet their “quality standards”, though my code is hacky most of the time. My exposure… well, I got a lot of that. Laughs
4) What is your opinion of skins and the current state of Android fragmentation?
“Skins” is an ugly word. It reminds me of my Symbian user era. Skins are just colour/layout/graphic changes. I wish Android had that kind of engine integrated like Symbian did. As for Android fragmentation, it is not different from any other OS fragmentation. Apple’s iOS suffers from it, as well as Symbian (s1, s3, s5, s^), etc. And other devices with private OS’s suffer from it too. So, nothing new.
5) From a developer’s standpoint, what is your opinion of coding for Android and the Market place in general?
Coding for Android is funny and straightforward if you have an “Object Oriented Programming” base knowledge, but there are a lot of differences regarding the things you can do. I come from Flash/ActionScript programming background, so there’s a lot of similarity in syntax, etc, but a huge difference in handling threads, data, and memory. The Android Market needs to “grow up fast”. Google needs to improve it in terms of client/developer communication.
I would like to thank AnderWeb for his gracious time spent providing a top notch rival to manufacturer skins, as well as for providing this interview. If you would like to reach him, follow his twitter @AnderWebs, or stop by his site (and buy him a beer).