My heart was thump, thump and thumping when I was browsing through the portfolio of Ding Wen, a 11 years old programmer. Ding Wen is a Singaporean, who started his journey of programming with Apple IIGS at the age of 7. He is probably the youngest iOS programmer in the world!
I was truly amazed by Ding Wen’s achievement. When he was just 9 years old, he successfully developed his first iPhone application – Doodle Kids. The application was also ported to Android OS and it has been downloaded for more than 880,000 times in both Apple and Android platform. All of his effort in programming has granted him a title, the Singapore’s ‘Icon of Cool’ by CNN international.
Apart from his successful Doodle Kids, he is also the developer of “Invader War” which was released on iOS platform. Currently, he is hosting “The Apple IIGS show” with his sisters Lim Xin Quan and Lim Xin Mei in his father, Lim Thye Chean’s Youtube channel. Below is the interview we made with him.
TeZeal: Please introduce yourself and tell us more about you and your family.
My father is my teacher in programming and works by creating applications. My sisters are starting out at programming (they are learning BASIC). I am going on to secondary school (SST) soon and am taking the post-PSLE advantage to create more apps.
TeZeal: How did you become a mobile apps developer and who inspire you the most?
I became a developer by applying my previous programming skills from BASIC and Pascal to the web apps running on iPhone. I was actually inspired by creating custom levels in Enigmo’s custom level editor where I discovered my interest in creating things for others to play.
TeZeal: How long you took to pick up your first programming language and how many hours you spend to program/practise at one day?
I took about a month to pick up my first programming language and I took 1 hour per day.
TeZeal: What are your favorites programing language and which do you think is the hardest to master?
TeZeal: You developed the famous and interesting mobile applications Doodle Kids and Invader War. Please tell us more about the apps. How long you took to develop both of it and what is the biggest challenge?
I took 1 day to complete the basic part of Doodle Kids and 6 months to complete Invader War. The hardest part of Doodle Kids was designing the shapes and the hardest part of Invader War was creating the diffrent alien classes.
TeZeal: What is your advice to a self-started mobile application programmer and what is the programming language he/or she should learn first? What are the good books would you recommend?
TeZeal: What do you think is the most prominent difference between Android and IOS programming instead of the programming language used?
For iOS you just develop for one phone. For Android you develop for many, many phones.
TeZeal: What do you think about the latest iPhone 4s and the new iOS 5 updates?
I like the iPhone 4S, especially the Siri although she doesn’t regonise our accent very much. iOS 5 is very good too, but there are a few bugs here and there.
TeZeal: What are your favorite’s apps of IOS or Andorid?
I like Angry Birds on Android, Jungle Run, Sprinkle (though it is quite hard at times), Kartrider Rush and Trial Xtreme 2.
TeZeal: What do you think about the competition level of current Apple Appstore and Android market? Many people say it is overcrowded now, don’t you think so?
I think that even though the Appstore has more competition than the Android market, it has more potential because more people are willing to pay money for good games. Moreover, your game can get a head start because it appears in the What’s New section. On the other hand, the Android market users are not as willing to pay for the apps and only download free stuff. By the way, there is a new Mac App Store that just started out, so the apps are not that much and it is quite easy for others to discover your app. But the app wave is pouring in, so we would have to act fast if we want to release our games before it is drowned in The Sea Of Apps.
TeZeal: Do you have any upcoming (mobile application) project in future?
I’m using Unity (unity3d.com) to make a kart racing game modeled after Mario Kart called Super Leo Kart. I’m currently targeting at desktop but if I can get the iOS license I will port it over to mobile.
TeZeal: What do you think about jailbreaking? Do you think is good to legalize jailbreaking worldwide?
As a developer, I developed for average consumers so jailbreaking is not an option for me. I don’t think jailbreaking is illegal though, just not for average users.
Jailbreaking essentially breaks the protection on the phone and might invites in more malwares, so users need to be more careful when considering jailbreaking as an option.
TeZeal: What do you think about TeZeal.com? Do you have any suggestions for us?
Well, I think that it is quite good, like, that kind of Apple style: simple. However, I think that the posts are a bit too little ( is the blog new? ). I noticed that the ‘related articles’ links are inactive, they can’t be clicked on.
TeZeal: Yea, TeZeal is a baby website, which is only 1 month old. In spite of that, we ‘ll do our best to deliver the best article as many as possible. Regarding the ‘related links’ issue, our team has successfully identified a plugin bug, which is only related to the Mac Lion based Safari, and we are still looking a way to fix it. Indeed, we appreciated you for reminding us. Last but not least, it is our pleasure to interview with him and we, TeZeal.com, would like to say thank you very much. Keep up the good work!
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