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September 22, 2014

Connecting NGOs: Meet the award-winning developer

Earlier, we told you how you could support any cause via the NGOConnect app. With a large database of non-governmental organizations across India, the app lets you donate via your smartphone.

NGOConnect was recently featured in //Publish/, a contest that connects app developers around the world, where the app was awarded Best Windows Phone 8.1 app in the Individual category.

Earlier this year, the //Publish/ event series took place in 60 cities and nearly 40 countries over two days. Offering non-stop coding sessions, the series gave developers the opportunity to seek expert support on their in-progress app projects, borrow testing devices, and compete for prizes.

Nokia Champ Group pic_2


Microsoft Devices Developer Champion and NGOConnect developer Chintan Dave didn’t believe it at first when he learned that his app had won, and that he had earned a swanky new Lumia 1520.

App development is Chintan’s hobby, and in his spare time, the 26-year old works on his dream products and browses through technology-related news and developments. We caught up with him to learn more about his app-development experience.

Congratulations, Chintan! What are your first thoughts on being recognized and being featured amongst the app pioneers in the Microsoft Hall of Fame?

It feels great. If luck favors me, I look forward to being selected as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional. That will make my life better and the feeling of becoming a MVP will be awesome.


How did you get started in app development? 

I used a Nokia smartphone back in the year 2008 and since I am a software engineer by profession, I got intrigued to develop for the mobile platform. Developing is my hobby and I love to innovate, playing with new gadgets and technologies, creating something useful in both software and hardware. I feel happy after I create something nice.

What do you think of Windows Phone as a platform for developing apps?

I think Windows Phone is the fastest-growing mobile platform and is well received by users. I see this as a good opportunity for app developers.

Why develop apps for Windows Phone?

Windows Phone has an awesome tool for developing apps, Visual Studio. It has nice features that make the lives of developers like us easier. I must add that creating something in Windows Phone is lot easier than creating the same thing in other mobile platforms due to support of multiple coding languages like HTML/JS, XML/C#/VB.

The best part is due to the common core between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, we can port our app to both platforms using the same code.

How long did it take to create NGO Connect?

It took around two months to create the NGO Connect app. First, we fixed the design and features requirement with the help of Microsoft Devices and then we finalized the design aspect of it. Once the design was ready, I started developing the app as per the decided design elements and created a prototype of it with small data of NGOs. Later, I started gathering further information (NGOs details, causes, address etc.) and added more NGOs from India into the database.

What did you learn while creating NGO Connect app and what has been the most difficult part?

While creating the NGO Connect app, I learned that app design and workflow is as important as app idea and functionality. Gathering NGO data was one difficult task during this app development. However, I feel the most difficult part of app development is starting the actual development and completing it as per the design.

Have you improved the app, now that is available on the WP store?

I have added features for sharing NGO details to social-networking sites or by email and have tweaked the way NGO’s details are shown. I also keep updating the NGO database based on the requests I get through the “Refer an NGO” feature within the app.

What is the most fun part of app development?

App-idea designing. The next bit is converting it into the real app.

What other apps have you developed so far?

I have developed some apps like World’s Greatest SpeechCelebrity TweetTalk and the latest NGOConnect. I am also working on an Imaging app that I hope will be released soon to Windows Phone Store.

What is the next app you are working or will be working on?

Currently, I am working on a camera app based on Nokia Imaging SDK.

Do you have any tips for other app developers?

It’s good to create something innovative and amazing. Go ahead and don’t sit back. Start developing something useful to consumers. Don’t worry about the need to learn and know everything before creating an app so just start developing it and you will learn with the process.