Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

My name is Asma Khalid I hold master’s degree in computer science from LUMS, batch 2011- 2013. I have completed my bachelor’s degree in computer sciences from FAST-NU Lahore campus, batch 2005-2009 with Deans List Honor Certificate in Fall 2005 and Spring 2006. I have 2.3 years of experience in IT industry. I worked as Software Engineer in Strategic Systems International (SSI) Lahore as Associate Software Engineer and in REDMATH Lahore. I am currently working as intern in Microsoft | Innovative Center, Lahore, Pakistan making mobile applications for windows phone & Windows Store. My expertise lies in mobile application development for Windows Phone & Android market. Windows8 based application development for Windows Store market.  I have expertise in Game/Graphics development with OpenGL, Cocos-2d-xna, Cocos-2d-x, XNA platforms, Box2D physics engine. I am fanatical about gamming both in terms of playing and developing and games are the whole reason why I chosen this field at first place. I have been doing coding since 9th grade and wrote my first code in BASIC language, I am enthusiastic and extensive computer programmer, love to do computer programming.

How the idea of the “Custom Converter” came to you?

I always try my best to target those domains in development that are not only fun to me as a developer but are also helpful and fun for general public. The idea of the application came to me when I was doodling on the internet as usual and my elder sister asked me to do some conversion from USD to PKR, I did it by browsing the internet, then she again asked me to do some conversion from feet to inch and unfortunately, electricity was not available at that time, but, luckily I know how much to convert from feet to inch without internet, though we confirm it from internet as soon as electricity is back.

That time I feel myself as some conversion calculator, so, I explored windows, android and iOS markets to see some app availability and there are tons of conversion applications out there in all market, but, in disintegrated number, most of the applications out there offer 5 to 13 pre-define combine categories or some custom made category. I felt that even with custom made option in an app, 5 to 13 pre-define categories are not enough for some lazy person like me. So, I decided to add as many as possible commonly used pre-define categories along with option of custom made category and that’s how my first windows phone application ‘Custom Converter’ comes to live. The application ‘Custom Converter’ is also available on Windows Store market.

Why you decided to implement this idea specifically on Windows8 and Windows Phone?

To me Windows platform is like a childhood buddy, I have been developing different kind of software/application flavors in windows platform for so long time. Lately, while developing mobile applications for android platform, I enjoy the
field and find it creative. Working in different languages, I found C#.NET quite interesting especially its LINQ flavor. During my stay at LUMS, I remember writing a small utility in C#.NET for my data mining course project,
in which me and my group member had to generate some 3GB to 4GB files, though our underlining language was not C#.NET. I first try to write the utility in our underlining language, but, unfortunately, the performance gap was huge. It took me around 24hrs to process the data and generate the files, but, with C#.NET LINQ feature the files were generated in maximum 45 minutes and I was shock, that time I realized the power of C#.NET. So, Windows Phone platform combines two things for me C#.NET power and mobile application domain. Once I created the application in windows phone I decided to port it on Windows8 as well for larger market scope.

What resources on Microsoft or community side you found most helpful while working on the app? Could you please take us on a quick tour to understand your application better?

As for online resource MSDN was my best friend to look up to in trouble times and helping material provided by windows phone development center. Since, I am working as intern at Microsoft | Innovative Center, Lahore, Pakistan, I received immense help on anything related to windows phone at any time. Mr. Shahid Aziz who is technical mentor is extremely guiding and encouraging and provide you with all the itsy bitsy details that help you to build your applications. Many session conducted in Microsoft | Innovative Center, Lahore, Pakistan are really helpful to me for developing my application.

My application ‘Custom Converter’ is about unit conversion of different categories. The application includes 20 predefine categories of unit conversion and an additional category called custom. In custom category users can add any unit conversion formula of their choice.

Following list elucidates the supported categories:
1)   Acceleration.
2)   Angles.
3)   Area.
4)   Astronomical.
5)   Cooking (This category contains liquid related conversion).
6)   Currency (116 countries are supported in both online mode and offline mode).
7)   Data.
8)   Density.
9)   Energy.
10) Force.
11) Frequency.
12) Fuel Economy.
13) Length.
14) Mass.
15) Power.
16) Pressure.
17) Speed.
18) Temperature.
19) Time.
20) Volume.
21) Custom (user define unit conversions. This category is by default, displaying the empty list).

Windows Phone Market Link:
http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/custom-converter/1f6a0c4d-a94d-48b5-b9d1-7b46fdc908ec


 
Windows Store Market Link:
http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-ca/app/0a2baffd-5de6-420f-8e84-0c1c80977df0



What are your interests behind technology?

I find technology to be very creative and magical field, especially, for imaginative people like myself to bring imagination into reality. I would like to practically apply my knowledge and skills in order to develop something that
is of value to the people. I feel myself as a wizard and to me technology is my wand and all the tools provided to make the magic happen are like spells and potions to me.

Any plans for news apps or projects in general?

I am currently working on my next application which is windows phone 8 platform based game. It will use Cocos2d-xna as underlining gaming platform. The cocos2d-xna (http://cocos2dxna.codeplex.com/) platform is basically a
combination of Cocos2d + MonoGame + XNA + C#.NET.

What would you advise to Developers in the region who also would like to become Pakistan Hero?

To everyone out there, who have even the slightest bit of interest in the field, my advice to them is to be patient, have faith & Be Thankful to Almighty Allah for everything you have.

Where the community can catch up with you online or offline?

The community can catch up to me at http://pk.linkedin.com/in/asmak9 or https://twitter.com/asmak