Saturday, 30 June 2012

Hey, it's me! The developer of What2Say, the number one random conversation topic generating for Android! How's it going, y'all.


Er...ahem! Anyway, I'm going to talk a little about how my (not-so-)clever little app came into being.

I've actually had an idea for a random topic generator for a few months now, and I'm not going to lie, but part of my thought process that led to this idea involved my ever-so-slight social awkwardness. At first I had envisioned a web app, because that'd be relatively easy to make and I could update the topics database whenever I pleased. I eventually realised that this wouldn't be ideal, however, because even if I created a layout for mobile phones the app would assume constant connection for the internet and that's never any good, is it? Especially if you're at a basement party or something and the wireless signal is all-but non-existent.

After my first year university exams had ended, I was struggling finding ways to fill the massive void between that point and the beginning of second year. Seeing as the job market's currently worse than it's ever been (even freaking McDonald's is short on vacancies at the moment), I decided to put my time to good use in some other way and learn some sort of new technology, so I logged onto Youtube and hit up thenewboston, my favourite tutorial channel for all things programming-related. (totally not an ad, by the way! Bucky, the guy in charge, is a really cool guy, and it's refreshing to have someone so passionate about technology communicate everything in such a down-to-earth way.) I scrolled through his videos and it was Android that caught my eye in the end; I thought it would be the best route to go down seeing as I had accumulated a decent amount of Java knowledge from my first year of Computer Science, and I was in possession of an Android phone.

I had a brief look through the Android tutorials to acquire some basic knowledge, but eventually hit a brick wall. This was when I learnt that it's all well and good being able to go through tutorials, but at the end of the day you're never going to get away in software development unless you jump right into the deep end and get your hands really, REALLY dirty. Recalling the random topic generator idea I acquired prior, I immediately set about working on it, learning the basics of SQLite in the process. The result was a completed app, What2Say, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't immensely proud of it.

And that's pretty much it! What does the future hold? I am not so sure, but there's always room for improvement: a couple of friends have given me several suggestions that I may consider depending on the popularity of this app. I've also got a couple more ideas I'm pretty keen on, so hopefully this is just the beginning of my Android development career!

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