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Local Windows 7 app goes global

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A Windows Phone 7 app designed by a student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University has earned third place in an international app competition. Jonathan Schmidt’s Wolfram 7 pulls answers from the Wolfram Alpha search engine in a format that makes life easier for students and researchers.

Need to know what the weather was like in San Francisco on 1 December, 2006? Or the nutritional value of a bowl of cereal? Thanks to Port Elizabeth student Jonathan Schmidt, you could have the answer to these ‚ and other questions in the palm of your hand.

Schmidt, a first-year student at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, is the proud creator of an app for Microsoft’s Windows 7 platform called Wolfram 7, which uses the Wolfram Alpha search engine to return information on almost any topic and in response to almost any query.

Schmidt’s efforts saw him garner third place in an international competition to develop apps for the Windows Phone platform. ‚I used Microsoft’s Imagine Cup methodology of ‚Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems’ as a guideline during development, and it was the added motivation of a particularly difficult calculus problem that saw Wolfram start proving its capabilities,‚ says Schmidt.

‚Wolfram is very similar to the WP7 platform in that it provides all people with the ability to source information and to find help with issues regardless as to where they are.‚

Using Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend ‚ both freely available from DreamSpark – Schmidt experimented with the software development kit (SDK), watched many of the online videos and used online resources to learn exactly how he was to develop his application.

Clifford de Wit, developer platform lead at Microsoft South Africa, says he has no doubt that local developers are in a position to create compelling mobile content for the Windows Phone platform.

‚We see enormous potential in terms of the talent that is available to develop new Windows Phone 7 applications,‚ said De Wit. ‚By creating a community around Windows Phone 7 development, we hope to give developers the ability to monetise their applications and create new revenue opportunities.‚

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