Today we check in with Kirupa Chinathambi, Developer & Designer at Kirupa.com and Blend Team.
Q. Hello,Kirupa Please introduce yourself and share some facts about yourself.
Hi, my name is Kirupa. I live in the Seattle area, and am a Program Manager at Microsoft working on the Expression Blend team. In my spare time, I maintain and help write content for kirupa.com . In my previous life, I majored in Computer Science at MIT. For any more information, please visit my expanded bio: http://blog.kirupa.com/?page_id=2
Q. How’d you get started with computers and build up your skill set?Video games! I was (and still am) a huge fan of video games, and it was early PC games like Commander Keen, Wolfenstein 3d, etc. that got me interested in spending time on the computer.
I do not think I ever intentionally set out to build up my skill set. As far as I knew, I was having fun trying to make things move around on the screen. I had no idea that what I was learning in that process would help me for many many years since then.
Q. What got you started in design and coding?What the first piece of coding you ever worked on?
Like I mentioned in my previous answer, trying to make things move on the screen. Back then, that was really hard. Today, it is much easier and almost any programming environment allows you to quickly go from code to having something graphical displayed on the screen. Whether my first piece of code revoloved around that or not, I really don’t know. It was too long ago.
Q. Which is your favourite programming language? Which tool you use for creating apps?
I don’t have a favorite programming language. The choice of language depends largely on the task at hand, and that applies to tools also. Today, I do most of my programming in .NET or ActionScript, and the tools I use range from Expression Blend and Visual Studio for .NET and Flash CS3 for ActionScript.
Q.You recently served a stint at Microsoft working as an intern, what’s was the best experience you took out of your time there?
As an intern, you are integrated into the team, attend the same meetings as everyone else, and get to work on projects related to the product your team ships. The best experience from that is being in the middle and observing how software involving hundreds of people gets designed, written, tested, and shipped. Only few companies can provide that level of first-hand experience, and for someone who was familiar working individually or in small groups in college, the things I learned in my few months proved invaluable.
To give you a better idea, I had such a great time that I joined Microsoft full-time after I graduated!
Q. How much time do you usually spend on computers/proramming?
That’s tricky to answer! The amount of time I actually spend using a computer are fairly limited, but I am always literally within arm’s reach of a computer at both work and home.
Q.What’s going to be the next catch-phrase/idea/… to sweep the Web and/or Development Community?
Web 3.0. It’s going to be great. It will be better than Web 2.0 and 3X better than Web 1.0.
On a less whimsical note, probably something invented years ago. Many of today’s products/web sites/etc. that get a lot of attention in the market do so partially because they extend and refine ideas that were cooked up a long time ago but were simply infeasible to implement at that time. To get into specifics, I think we may go back to the thin-client model where you have a rich user interface combined with data stored remotely.
In the context of what’s going on today, the web is great for certain scenarios where having ready access to your data is important, and desktop applications are great for other scenarios where interacting with your data is not limited to some HTML form elements. Instead of having an all-desktop or all-browser application, taking the best features of each and creating hybrid applications sounds like a much better solution than what we, for the most part, have now.
There are some notable examples of such hybrid applications today though. Yahoo’s Flickr image uploader tool is one example where you use a desktop app to upload images to the Flickr web server. Most of your IM clients and IMAP e-mail programs fit in this category also. I am really looking forward to Microsoft’s upcoming Office service that allows you to use your nice-looking Office 2007 applications to manage content stored externally on a shared web portal.
Q.Out of all your projects and all your various types of work, what project do you think you’ve had the most fun working on?
Definitely kirupa.com. It is something that I still have fun working on. The site, I think, is about eight years old now, so it’s always interesting to see how much the site has evolved over the years. Through the site, I’ve gotten to meet a lot of nice people who either directly or indirectly influenced how I think about computers, technology, and the world at large.
Q.What experiences growing up helped shape your direction in life now?
As a kid, my parents would take me to the library almost every week. It was there that I really became interested in reading books outside of those assigned to me in school. Looking back, the books I read the most were biographies of famous people, United States History (esp. economic history), Sherlock Holmes, dinosaurs, philosophy, and things related to technology.
It really wasn’t until high school and college where I had a chance to make my extracurricular interests a part of my in-school curriculum. I went to a nice high school in Hoover, AL that allowed students some freedom to choose which classes they wanted to take, so I was able to take some classes that wouldn’t be the default classes offered. Once I started college, outside of a few core classes required for my major, I spent most of my time taking classes in Economics, History, Philosophy, and Political Science.
While taking those classes or reading those books may not have made me a better programmer or a better designer, they certainly gave me a broader appreciation of things beyond just what goes on in my tech-centric world.
Q. Who or what in your life would you say influenced you most?
Definitely my parents. So much of what I do and how I approach situations is in a large part influenced by them.
Q.How you keep balance of your creativity,work,projects with social life or personal life?
I don’t balance them, for in my view, they are all just one big interconnected thread for me. I wish I could say that I lived an interesting double life where I am Bruce Wayne at one moment and outwardly and psychologically Batman in another moment. Instead, everything I do is somehow related, and I don’t fight that 😛
Q. Your favourite stuff from : Food/T.V.Show/Music/Website ?
Food: Anything put on a plate. (For things on the floor, the 5 second rule applies)
TV: Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, Family Guy, and most anything on CNBC.
Music: Bee Gees, U2, Enigma, Corrs
Website: Facebook (http://www.facebook.com)
Q. Any things you want to get out while you have the chance?
Haha, not really.
Q. Any advice you’d give to new programmers?
Try to have fun. Find some small applications that you want to build, and try to build them. In the end, you will have created something cool, and in the process, you would also have learned something. Your goal needs to go beyond just learning how to use feature X, Y or Z of your programming language.
Thanks for taking time to chat with me krupa.Keep up da good work.