With the general availability of Windows 8 just a month away, I thought it would be a great time to highlight some of the apps that developers across the Northeast have already listed in the store. Most, if not all, that you will see profiled over the coming weeks are not the results of teams of software engineers working for brand-name companies, but rather the efforts of independent and often individual developers that have applied their unique passions and vision to an opportunity available to us all.
Leading off my “Who’s on 8” series, is Thoughts and Prayers, available free in the Windows Store. The app was created by Steve Maier, a consummate polyglot developer and a fixture of the technical community in the Rochester, New York area. Steve co-leads AppRochester, a monthly technical group focused on mobile application development, so it should be no surprise that Thoughts and Prayers is available on Windows Phone, iPhone, and Android as well.
Steve’s app’s premise is simple, but powerful. The genesis of the application is best expressed in his own words, How it Began:
Thoughts and Prayers started back in January 2011. My father was in the hospital and went into surgery. My mother and siblings had not arrived yet. I had my laptop with me and was thinking about what type of phone app to write. I knew that people at my church, and all of the churches that my family went to were praying for him. I thought about making a phone app that could help people that did not have the same spiritual support system that I had. This was where the idea for Thoughts and Prayers started.
I worked on Thoughts and Prayers slowly but loved the idea of helping people like this. A couple of months later my mother passed away suddenly. This was a very hard time for my family. She was the heart of the family and still is today. After everything settled from this, I got going on Thoughts and Prayers with a goal to get it finished. On May 15, Thoughts and Prayers was available in the Windows Phone 7 marketplace. On my mothers birthday, I then submitted Thoughts and Prayers to the iOS store. And by the end of the year, it was also in the android store.
This application is dedicated to the memory of my mother. She would have never used a smartphone and did not know how to use any computer except for an old C64. She taught me about God’s love, prayer, and that we should always help others. She was a Christian Pre-School teacher for 36 years. Money that I get from this application is going to help make some scholarships in her name, starting with the last school where she taught.
Steve originally created Thoughts and Prayers for the Windows Phone, where it has a five-star rating! Given the similarity of the design language, implementation, and tooling, moving to Windows 8 was a logical route to take. That said, the Windows 8 version is not simply a port of its Windows Phone predecessor. Steve has taken care to update the user interface design to take advantage of the larger form factor and the unique native features of Windows 8, such as the Share functionality (see below) that allows the use to forward a prayer or verse to a friend via e-mail.
Congratulations and great job, Steve!