Many of us probably spend a lot of time reading about, researching, flashing, and using HTC EVO 4G custom ROMs. We talk about what makes them amazing, why certain ones are better than others, and what we hope to see in future updates, but we don’t talk about the talented devs responsible for these ROMs. Sure, we know their names, but in most cases that’s all we know.
ROM Dev Spotlight, a new Q&A series here at G&E, is hoping to change that.
So without further ado, meet myn.
Which ROM are you using on your EVO right now?
A development build of Warm Gingerbread.
If you weren’t using your own ROM, which/whose would you be using instead?
aamikam‘s MikFroyo. He does great work.
What do you do for a living and when do you have time to make ROMs?
I’m a Sr. Software Developer working for a large utility company. My other hobbies are traveling (cruising), home theater, and loudspeaker design/development. When I’m not working at my day job, I’m usually at home developing ROMs.
How long have you been making ROMs? What other devices do you develop for?
I started developing Android ROMs in September of 2009. My first one, Warm Donut, was actually released for the HTC Vogue, a device that was never designed to run Android. Besides the EVO, the last two Warm ROMS were designed to also run on the HTC Incredible thanks to my right-hand man, Incubus26jc.
Why did you decide to create an EVO ROM?
I had previously released two ROMs, Warm Donut and Warm Eclair, for the HTC Vogue. When I got the EVO last July, it only made sense to continue the Warm goodness on this phone too.
What are your future plans for the Warm ROMs?
Warm Gingerbread RLS 1 will be the next iteration in the Warm ROM series. Incubus26jc, DJZager, and I are working on this now. We’ve got a ton of cool new ideas planned for Warm Gingerbread. Stay tuned!
How do you decide when a ROM is ready to be released? In other words, when is it “done”?
I’m a big fan of releasing early, releasing often. I do my best to listen to the community and really like hearing suggestions. Many of the features you see in the final versions of the Warm ROMs were inspired by users’ suggestions.
What I typically do at the beginning of the ROM development cycle is document a backlog of the required items I’d like to accomplish for the release iteration and another list of nice-to-haves. I prioritize each feature and work down the list. Once the ROM is 3/4 the way developed and very stable, I like to release a beta and solicit feedback, tracking the issues and defects.
The testing stage is as important as the development. This ensures the quality of the final release is perfect.
Do you have a general schedule for when you like to create and release updates?
I typically like 4-week release cycles: Release 1 > 3 weeks > Beta Release 2 > 1 week for break/fixes and prep for final > Release 2, etc.
What are the hardest and easiest parts about developing?
The hardest part about developing is trying to please everyone. I’ll get 200 requests for a new feature and after implementing it, another 200 will dislike it. Warm TwoPointTwo RLS 2 was a testament to this. I began allowing users to personally pick and choose, customizing the experience to their needs with flashable options. This is really important to me and I will continue to allow users to “Have It Your Way.”
The easiest part of developing is utilizing some of the automated tools that are available today. Prior to the Android Kitchen, ApkManager, and ApkTool, there were a lot more tedious manual processes that consumed a lot of time. With the advent of the great Android development community we have, much of the tedious tasks are now being automated.
Other than the community, what are the best and worst things about creating ROMs for the EVO?
I’ve always said ROM devs are just crazy flashaholics. When flashing a new ROM every day isn’t enough, developing and flashing your own creation 10 to 15 times a day satisfies the itch! Seriously, I started developing my own ROMs because I was sick of waiting for other ROM devs to innovate and release things in a timely manner.
As far as the worst things about creating ROMs for the EVO, I really can’t think of anything bad. I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t as fun as it is!
What do you want non-devs to know about creating ROMs that you think they don’t already know or understand?
A great deal of time goes into creating a polished ROM. I spend on average 40 to 50 hours a week on it; it’s basically a full-time job. But I do it because it’s incredibly fun, and I enjoy delighting my users.
What are the best and worst parts about the current EVO software?
I wish HTC would open source Sense. Working with dex/smali isn’t as easy as working with raw source code.
Sense or AOSP? Have you always felt this way?
My first two ROMs were AOSP based (Warm Donut and Warm Eclair). AOSP is much easier to develop in natively because the source code is completely accessible. Sense, being closed source, is a great challenge because you need to work a little harder to implement features in dex/smali.
As a user, I prefer Sense because it offers me more social synchronization features that vanilla AOSP does not, but I’ve been caught on occasion running an AOSP ROM too.
Will you be making ROMs for the EVO 3D or EVO View?
The EVO 3D, assuming Sprint gives me a break and allows me to purchase a subsidized EVO 3D a year earlier than my service contract allows!
Absolutely! I feel honored just to be considered.
ROM Dev Spotlight is a new Q&A series that showcases developers of HTC EVO 4G custom ROMs.