Say Hello to Our Second Developer Hero – Michal Jerz, AKA Burning Platform!

BlackBerry World

In June, we kicked off the Developer Hero Program to reward our awesome development community. We saw hundreds of apps submitted to BlackBerry World in a very short time. From those apps, we chose four winnersyou’ve already met Adam Radwon, the first.

burning-platform-developer-hero-photoToday, you’ll meet the second – Michael Jerz also known as Burning Platform. His app, Headless ScreenCorder, was created as a resource-light alternative to other screen recording apps on BlackBerry World. It allows users to start recording their screen in an instant.

Here’s what Michel had to say:

How long have you been developing apps on the BlackBerry 10 platform?

Since early 2013 when I bought the Z10, but I’ve been developing on QT-based platforms (of which BlackBerry is one) for decades.

What attracted you to the platform?

It was a natural choice for me after Symbian and MeeGo were discontinued. Honestly, I wish it came out a year earlier, as there were hundreds of millions of users who were looking for something like it in 2011 and 2012. They only chose Android because they didn’t have any other option at the time.

Are there any features that stand out about our OS?

It’s among the most intuitive platforms I’ve ever developed for, and one of the most enjoyable and inspiring.  It’s stable, secure, and intuitive; I can’t imagine having to switch to any other OS any time soon. I enjoy it both as an ordinary user and as a developer – no other platform gives such flexibility. No other major platform would have allowed me to port my Symbian apps over with such ease, and no other platform gives me this much freedom to mix APIs.

I also value BlackBerry devices for their exceptional build quality and durability. My Z10 is four years old, but it still works fine and looks as if I bought it a month ago – and that’s after dropping it on the floor a few times. And I’d like to say again, I really love the stability and security of BlackBerry 10. The way it handles permissions is revolutionary, and it’s something other platforms are only implementing now. I also really enjoy that apps can only do what I permit them to do, and that no mobile data is used if I don’t want it to be.

Security-wise, this platform has always been unrivalled and it will remain so in the foreseeable future.

Do you currently use a BlackBerry device?

Yes, I’ve got the Passport and the Z10. My wife is the proud owner of a white Z10, too!

What kind of support have you received from BlackBerry?

I’ve received a lot of help from both the Developer Support and Marketing teams, who always do their best to resolve all problems related to app development and publishing. I owe Bryan Van Engelen a personal mention, as he’s been the most helpful support person I’ve encountered. I could always count on his assistance no matter what issue I ran into, and people like him are one of the reasons I keep developing for this platform.

The development community itself is also very helpful.

How did you first get into app development?

I needed some apps tailored to my specific needs, and figured I might as well make them myself. Once I learned how to do it, I figured I should share them with everyone!

Tell us about ScreenCorder. What inspired you to create it, and what features do you want to highlight?

headless_screencorderThere were numerous screen recording apps, but none were headless – they all required the user to launch a separate interface just to capture their screen, or to keep one running in an active frame. This wasn’t a good solution for anyone who needed to quickly record something unexpected, and I wanted an app that could start recording instantly, from any window.

That’s how I came up with ScreenCorder. It’s headless, so it runs invisibly in a service in the background, taking up virtually no resources while it’s not in use. Once the user double-presses the Volume Up button, it starts recording what’s currently on the screen – another advantage of this approach is that the app itself does not need to be visible in recorded video.

What kind of momentum have you seen on ScreenCorder?

Reception has been really positive – almost everyone who’s reviewed the app has loved it. I’ve got an update with some new features coming soon, so I expect even more people to give it a try then.

What other apps have you developed for BB10? Are there any you’d like to mention, or anything you’ve got in the works right now?

I’ve developed around fifteen apps for BlackBerry 10. The most popular is EasyStreetView, a Google Street View client with a split map/panorama view and simultaneous control. Other popular apps I’ve developed include:

  • MoonCalc: a moon tracking tool that provides a wealth of real-time calculated data like phases, eclipses, super moons, perigees and apogees, and so on.
  • Headless Torch: A headless service that allows you to instantly user your phone as a flashlight, even when it’s locked or holstered.

I am currently working on a few more apps, including some specifically made for the Passport. The goal is to have them fully polished and ready for release before Christmas.

What’s the greatest moment you’ve had with BlackBerry?

Through BlackBerry, I recently received the Passport! I’d dreamed about having it ever since it was released, but I also needed it to test my new apps on it. unboxing was probably the most enjoyable experience of all, and the only thing I can compare it to was when I touched the Z10 for the first time back in early 2013.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Please keep this great platform alive!

About Michael Jerz: Aged 43, Michel Jerz has been developing since the late ‘90s, and first found his love for mobility with the Nokia Communicator, one of the world’s first smartphones. Before finding his way to the BlackBerry platform, he developed for Symbian, Maemo, and MeeGo, running one of the web’s oldest and largest communities for the latter.  Connect with Michael on his blog.

About BVE

Bryan Van Engelen has been with BlackBerry since 2010. He is part of the Developer Programs and Outreach team, focusing on customer and developer engagement and support. @bve21

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