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June 18, 2014

Developing Stories: The Doctor & Clipr App Developer

Venu Kumar, he’s not your typical Windows Phone app maker…


He’s never taken a computer science class or app-certification course and until recently, he didn’t even know how to code.

But Venu Kumar is the brains and creator behind the new, free popular photo-clipping app, Clipr, that allows you to “clip” one part of a photo and add it to another photo by tracing an image with a finger and moving it. You can also add cool, colorful filters to the image and background.

Released just last month, Clipr is already gathering kudos from around the globe.

You’d think Venu would be too busy saving lives to create apps. You see, he’s a medical doctor in Hyderabad, India.

But he delved into the programming world out of necessity: he’s currently studying for the entrance exam to get into a neurosurgery program, and acceptance into such a post-graduate program is extremely competitive.

“I thought, ‘What if I had an app to help me?’” Venu said.

So he created his first app – MedQ – a medical study and quiz guide for the rigorous exam. (But don’t search the Windows Phone store just yet for this app – it won’t be available until after Venu takes the test next year!)

How did he do it? Through smarts, determination, online courses, and support from fellow Windows Phone developers. Here’s Venu in his own words on how developed Clipr, his app-development process, and a sneak peek into what his next app will look like …

CliprinpostHow did you get started in app development?
As a doctor with zero coding language, I didn’t know where to start and so I was very worried. After a brief search, I found online video courses for absolute beginners by Bob Tabor on Channel 9. With his lessons, I learned the basics of the C# programming language.

Visual Studio also helps me to code in a very easy and intuitive way. Besides Visual Studio, the number and quality of sample codes you can get on Nokia and Microsoft communities are really worth checking out – they make your job simple and easy.

Why develop apps for Windows Phone?
I myself am very fond of Nokia products; my phone is the Lumia 920. So eventually I landed in Windows Phone following Nokia, and now Microsoft.

What’s the most difficult part of app development?
I divide app development into two sections: general and core. General is stuff like wallpaper, creating buttons. Those things are easy to do. The core elements are unique to your app, and that’s where you struggle.

I came across a wonderful filter in the Nokia Imaging SDK. This filter and my childhood passion for imaging drove me to create Clipr. However, the ability to cut an image from a picture was very hard for me. So I went to the app developer forums and people gave me suggestions. I kept on asking because a lot of times, I didn’t know enough to move forward.

People on the forums were so helpful and humble. They said, “OK, I’ll give you code.” I especially want to highlight one person on the forums. He is Yan Verdavaine and he’s a champion developer. He was the main person to help me create Clipr. He inspires me so much. At one point, I thought of leaving my project altogether because it was too hard, but he said, “No, don’t give up!”

What’s the most fun part of app development?
Everything is fun. If you have a problem, that’s the fun part. Time will go by as you try to solve it. The process of trying, of working hard and going on the internet to find solutions – for me, that’s fun. But the most fun part is when your code works!

What app will you develop next?
Here in India, diabetes is a big problem. So I want to create an interactive app that educates people on the disease, what the risks are, and information on how to take better care of themselves. The app will record your food and fluid intake, your calories, and your physical activity. I’ll start this project after I get into the neurosurgery program next March.

Do you have any tips for other app developers?
Just be passionate about what you are doing and dedicate your time to it. That’s it – all of the rest will be taken care of, especially with help from friends in the Nokia and Microsoft developer communities. Never give up!