9 Year-Old App Developer More Than Just a Feel-Good Story

15 Comments

doodlekids

Here’s a story that gives new meaning to the term Apple (s aapl) fanboy. A 9-year-old youngster from Singapore, prompted by his younger sisters’ love of drawing, created an application for the iPhone called Doodle Kids. Budding artists create pictures by dragging a finger across the screen and then shake the phone to return to a blank canvas.

According to news reports, fourth-grade protege Lim Ding Wen has been using computers since he was two and already knows six programming languages. Doodle Kids might be his first app in the App Store, but it won’t be his last. Wen is already working on a sci-fi action game for the iPhone called Invader Wars.

Of course, the story of a 9-year-old whiz kid is great to hear, but it also illustrates a larger point about the development process of iPhone apps. It’s clear that we’ve gotten to a point where technology is becoming less mystical and more approachable.

A mere decade ago, computers themselves were still viewed as elusive gadgets and programming was left to people with only the highest levels of geekery in their bloodstream. Now we have kids programming smartphones before they’re old enough to drive a car.

Stories like this — and the proliferation of apps in the App Store created by people with no special training — are a great testimony to the aptitude of the mainstream consumer. Apple (s aapl) offered its user community the opportunity to participate in the development process and people have taken to the idea in droves.

Apple deserves a lot of credit for its willingness to open the App Store for people who want to share the applications they create. Of course, Apple isn’t the only community that develops home-grown apps for its platform;  and of course, Apple gets something out of the deal as well. It’s great, however, that Apple has created an ecosystem that encourages developers of all ages and skill levels.

It’s tempting to assume that young Lim Ding Wen is an exception among app developers. While he may be one of the youngest people to have an app in the App Store, he isn’t the only one interested. Just this week my 9 year-old son came to me clutching a wish list for his birthday next month. Number two on the list (right after a brand-new Wii game)? The iPhone Software Development Kit.

15 Comments

Anonymous

I am thirteen, and I can make 3d games with c++, with all kinds of networking, and file reading with map loading texture loading… I am always appalled by age prejudice. When an adult does something like this… No big deal, right? But when a kid does this, WOAH. That is age prejudice, and it is hurtful. Why can’t we just be treated like adults without all of the sugarcoating?

Mia

well, good for him. i’m just one year older than him, and i only know html, javascript and actionscript. :3

that kid is amazing

Sam

Hi everyone im ten I know 9 programing languiges and have a app on the app store called locatemenav tell everyone you know (i only have 11 downloads)

Thanks everyone

Sam

p.s. Wow a 9 year old makes iphone apps

Arnoldlim

He is so good. I am ten and only a boy who is still a beginner in Ruby… while this 9-year-old boy is an expert in 6 programming language.

Tim Bowen

Buy him the SDK, that’s like a kid asking for a musical instrument. It will only set you back a hundo plus the cost of an iPhone for testing if you don’t have one.

I'm Not Jealous... Really

This is an amazing kid! However, whatever happened to kids doing kid stuff? riding a bike, kicking a ball, running around? As a lover of computers since I was a child, I see that too many (esp kids) are foregoing physical activities and “normal” interactive activities for the computer/electronic type stuff. This story is as amazing as it is alarming.

Former 9 year-old programmer

You were obviously not very into computers, JG. I was writing little programs like this on the Vic 20 when I was 6-ish.

JG

Stuff like this makes me feel old and obsolete, at 25… I remember grown-ups speaking with wonder about how my generation knows its way around computers, but it’s no comparison to these kids, who grow up with all this new technology as a second nature.

Really old developer

ow great, another reason for my boss to consider my termination

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