Community Interview: Ilya Tumanov

Photo of Ilya Tumanov1) Would you like to introduce yourself?

My name is Ilya Tumanov. I’m originally from St Petersburg, Russia (that should explain the strange name). Currently I live in Redmond, WA. I’ve been professionally developing software for over 15 years, more than 6 years with Microsoft.

2) What do you do in your role within Microsoft?

I am a Software Development Engineer (SDE) within the Developer Division (responsible for development tools like Visual Studio). I have been with the .NET Compact Framework team almost from the start and helped shipped version 1.0 of it.

I used to own numerous portions of the .NET CF base class libraries (BCL), for example ADO.NET and LINQ and was responsible for the .NET CF installation story on both the desktop and device sides.

Recently I’ve moved on to another position and now I’m with Microsoft’s Office Labs. My line of work is around mobile productivity, so I’m still working with NETCF, now as a regular developer.

3) What was it like to have responsibility for sections of code that are used by such a wide number of developers? Do you get “warm fuzzies” whenever you see a .NET Compact Framework application?

Absolutely. I love to see NETCF used to create all kinds of cool applications. Often I wonder which technology new apps are built with – and I would say there’s a very good chance it’s NETCF.

We have a huge library of NETCF based applications here for compatibility testing and new applications are coming in all the time. One of the recent applications to come out is a new version of Microsoft’s own Live Search, built with NETCF V2.

4) You are also a prolific answerer within the Smart Device section of the MSDN Forums website. Is this part of your job or something that you do purely as a way to be involved with the community?.

I’m volunteering as a moderator on MSDN forums. This is not an official part of my job. Although my work on the forums is encouraged by Microsoft, I do not receive special compensation for it. Some moderators are community support engineers dedicated to MSDN forums but I am not one of them.

5) For those not aware of the MSDN Forums, would you like to explain the purpose behind them?

MSDN Forums is an online community for developers to support each other. It serves many purposes, just to name a few:

  • Help developers with their current challenges.
  • Share knowledge, experiences and ideas.
  • Educate developers about best practices.
  • Collect feedback and use it for targeted product improvements.

6) For someone using the support forums what would your suggestions be for improving their chance of getting a quick and accurate response?

  • Educate yourself – learn to fix basic syntax errors and learn to read the documentation on MSDN.
  • Search relevant forums and the web. Then search again. In 9 out of 10 cases somebody has ran into the same type of issue before and you can get a solution instantly instead of posting and waiting.
  • Pick one and only one forum which best matches your question or problem.
  • If you know VB.NET learn enough of the C# syntax to enable you to translate code samples provided in that language (the same goes for a C# developer learning the basics of VB.NET syntax).

7) What do you find the most challenging aspect of developing software for Windows Mobile devices?

It’s challenging because it’s unfamiliar. As a developer who is starting out with mobile devices, it’s hard to do things because everything the developer is used to seems to be “missing”. Even the OS does things differently. A good example is the file system: no drive letters, no relative paths – what a shocker for seasoned Windows developers!

However, as soon as this initial shock is over and you learn to live with API limitations and OS peculiarities it becomes much easier.

For me personally it’s not easy to come up with a good user interface that works well for small screens and limited input capabilities.

8) Do you carry a Windows Mobile powered device with you?

I used to not carry my cell phone with me at all – until I got a Samsung BlackJack II phone a couple months ago. I must say I’m now addicted to instantly arriving e-mails. A better web browsing experience is what I would like to have though.

9) If you had one thing to say to potential developers of Windows Mobile applications what would it be?

Go for it! It’s fun!

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