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A Schoolboy's App Development Journey…

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A Schoolboy's App Development Journey…

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Account written by Ross Lowe, 13 year old developer.

Initially, when presented with the task of creating an app for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8, it all seemed a bit daunting. Whilst I have been programming on Windows for many years, I recently made the switch from Windows to mac. I also began to develop for iOS. So creating apps for windows required me to first understand Windows 8, then to understand a relatively new programming language.

MSC13_Surface_03Some say that Windows 8 has 'a steep learning curve', but I beg to differ. Using the Operating System with a mouse was not alien to me, and all previous Windows users should find the transformation a doddle. Sure, it has a new start screen. Sure, some things are different. But many of us have the idea that change is bad - myself, previously, included.

Despite initially seeing the metro UI and freezing, I got straight to work and downloaded everything I needed. My first idea for an app, a map of space, came to me when watching a TV show on space. From there, I began to code in a language known to me - JavaScript - and after a couple of days created a tiny, working concept with a single planet. A few weeks later I had mapped the entire Solar System and smoothed out the system.

I had the idea for the second app, 'face the facts', when walking between lessons at school. It was a "wouldn't it be cool if..." moment, and that night I had made an early concept. Thinking about it, it is revolutionary that now even a child can come up with an idea, and after a couple of days bring it to life using the powerful tools provided by Visual Studio - although I have been programming for many years, a complete beginner could write an app in TouchDevelop or ZippApp. And with DreamSpark, teachers can literally provide everything students need to start making stunning content (the next killer app?) in minutes.

I am still working on my apps, but I am pleased with progress so far.

It has only been a few weeks, and yet in that time I have learnt Windows 8.1, C#, and partially made two apps. Every child could make an app - I would have been so excited by the concept of making apps in my ICT class and seeing whose got most downloads.

I am loving every minute of developing for Windows, and whilst this may sound a bit cliché, it is ultimately true: when creating apps for Windows using some of the many tools available, the only limit is your imagination.

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