New team member! Interview with Matthew Robbins
Microsoft MVP, Xamarin MVP, a mobile development expert with years of work experience and the founder of MFractor, a mobile-first productivity tool for Visual Studio Mac. So many different accomplishments, it’s hard to believe he’s only 28. Today we are going to introduce you our new XAM Consulting superstar and rock climbing instructor Matthew Robbins. In the beginning of October, he joined XAM team in Sydney but started working right away with one of our key clients K-mart, down in Melbourne. We managed to grab a quick coffee with Matt as he flew out to his next assignment.
Which one is better: Melbourne or Sydney? (just kidding)
Ha! That old chestnut. I love Sydney for its lifestyle and weather but my heart is always going to be in Melbourne as it’s where I grew up.
As well as Michael, you’re also a Xamarin MVP… What was your first reaction when you got nominated?
This is best summarised in emoji: 👏😊
How did you actually get into Xamarin?
A few years ago I was working for a friends game studio and we started to branch out into app development. To win a contract, we need to write an app for both platforms under a tight budget. After evaluating several cross platform toolchains, Xamarin emerged as the clear winner. I had such a great experience building that app in Xamarin that it became my primary focus and I’ve never looked back.
What’s the best advantages of working with Xamarin, comparing to other cross-platform development tools?
For me, the primary advantage is that a Xamarin app is a native app except with C# as its source code. Another advantage is that I can use a world-class IDE such as Visual Studio Mac. VS Mac also includes has a rich library of tools like Inspector (a UI inspector tool), TestCloud, Profiler and much more. Plus, you get to use MFractor (my product!) with Xamarin... How sweet is that!
Where do you see the open source software community headed?
I see it going the way of Open Collective. I hope that major source code projects that the dev community depends on can get funded either fully or partially through community support.
What is the most challenging thing about Xamarin and how to overcome that?
It’s definitely the learning curve; when you first come to Xamarin you are essentially learning either one or three platforms: C#/.NET, iOS and Android. This is punishing for newbies and puts a lot of people off. Thankfully, Xamarin.Forms is alleviating this issue by making the learning curve significantly easier.
Tell us a bit about MFractor… How did you come up with the idea of building it?
MFractor is a mobile-first productivity tool for Visual Studio for Mac. It was essentially born out of my experiences (aka pain) in building Xamarin apps over the years. Around March 2015 I decided to start trying to fix some of these pain points and voila, MFractor came to be.
What’s next of MFractor?
I’ve got a few features in the works; a supercharged XAML editor, code snippet support, a ResX editor and of course, MFractor for Visual Studio Windows.
What do you expect of your new start here at XAM?
To be very, very busy helping our clients build incredible apps! Other than that, I suspect I’ll be mentoring the other staff and firing up their passion for all things Xamarin!You’re Xamarin MVP & Microsoft MVP, you were interviewed by James Montemagno (The Xamarin show host), have your own product and years of mobile development experience in your resume…Is there something still missing? What do you still want to accomplish?At the moment, I’m very satisfied with my career and what I’ve accomplished in the past few years. I’d love to continue pushing MFractor much further beyond what it currently does (I’ve got a few out-there ideas I’m working on)... Otherwise I’ve got my eye on getting into mountaineering the next few years and starting to tick off the seven summits 🏔
We’ve heard you really enjoy rock climbing… Where is your favourite place to go?
That’s a tough one! It’s very hard to pick just one favourite place, I’d have to say either Mt Arapiles or the Grampians. They are 2 of the best climbing destinations in the world and both have pretty darn incredible climbing!