Our DNA is written in Objective-C

WWDC Scholarship App (1)

Hello. My name is Janie Clayton-Hasz. This year I applied for the WWDC Student Scholarship through Apple.

This is a multi-part series of blog posts chronicling my experiences while going through this process, including the outcome and my thoughts on the process.

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These posts will be labeled as follows:

  1. Conception of Ideas
  2. Implementation of Ideas
  3. Debugging process
  4. Submission process
  5. Outcome and thoughts.

This is the first of five planned posts.

i. Background

I have been a computer programming for three years now. I am attending a community technical college in Madison, WI. I was working full time and attending school part time for my first two years, and subsequently did not really understand very much of what we were doing.

Last year I got serious about learning how to code. I really wanted to understand fully why I was putting things in my code and how it worked. I began going to school full time and dedicating myself to learning to code. I immersed myself in programming and I have made a great deal of progress this past year.

At the same time I made the decision to master computer programming, the school I am attending, Madison College, added a new degree program for Mobile Application Development using either iOS or Android. Prior to this Madison College had an iOS training certificate that could only be taken as a graduate of the programming degree or as a professional developer.

I switched to this track a year ago, primarily because of the teacher who was designing the curriculum, Eric Knapp. He was the teacher I had for my introductory programming class and I believe if I had not had him for that class I would have dropped out of the program. He could explain things in a way that was understandable and really cared whether his students understood the material or were just copying old homework for the projects.

This track has three classes specifically for iOS programming: Introduction to Objective-C, Introduction to iOS Programming, and Advanced iOS Programming. I recently completed the second class. I am signed up for the third class next semester, at which point I anticipate completing my development degree.

ii. WWDC Scholarship Application

Apple WWDC 2013 Logo

Apple WWDC 2013 Logo

Ever since beginning this programming track I have heard a great deal about WWDC and its associated scholarship.

Eric told us that for the last three years Madison College has had two students win the scholarship, which is a free ticket to WWDC. The school has a policy that if you win this ticket, the school will pick up the tab for your flight and hotel room. This is as close to getting a free conference as you can get if you are a student.

The scholarship application was released the day after the WWDC tickets sold out in 90 seconds. The deadline for the scholarship was eight days after the application was posted.

The largest portion of the scholarship required that the student applicant was supposed to send in an app they were working on as an example of their talents and ideas. I didn’t have any apps I was working on. I started programming iOS less than a year ago. I was spending all my time cramming this information into my brain.

If I wanted to enter this competition, I needed to conceive and execute an app in a week that encompassed whatever knowledge I had from my two iOS programming classes.

iii. Creating a Manageable Goal

My career goal is to program Core Audio. I really wanted to submit an app that used Core Audio, but I did not know enough about it to really create a killer app featuring audio programming. I knew from previous experience with the Cocoa Camp scholarship application that it is a very bad idea to try and learn a new skill when you have a set amount of time to complete something.

Our class had just spent a great deal of time on learning Table Views. I decided to design an app that primarily utilized Table Views.

I eventually mapped out the following app:

Portable Wine Journal

  • User would either create a new wine tasting or look at a previous wine tasting
  • Each wine tasting would be in a table and each wine tasted at that tasting would be in a table
  • There would be a form where the user could input a variety of information that would be stored and brought up later when they looked at previous tastings
  • There would be another view that would output the previously recorded information from the form
Keeping track of wine information can be a hassle.

Keeping track of wine information can be a hassle.

I have been to many wine tastings over the last year or so. When you go to do a wine tasting you get a sheet of paper to write your notes on. These are never a uniform size or shape. I have a stack of these papers with nearly no way to organized them and look at them later.

My thought was that if you could just put the information directly on your phone that this would no longer be an issue. I knew enough about table views and data storage that I would be able to collect this information, organize it, and display it. This would not be as flashy as programming a game or an audio app, but I needed to work within the constraints I was given.

There were further things I wanted to include at some point in the future, but I felt this was a reasonable goal that I could accomplish in the week I had allotted.

There was now an established list of goals to accomplish and a rock-solid deadline to meet.

In my next post I will speak about the difficulties I encountered while attempting to code my app and the lessons I learned from those experiences.

Categories: Education


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