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How I built my first app - Matricks

It was in the Summer vacations of Std 7 when I wanted to build an app. Back in those days, Netflix and other content streaming platforms were not widely used and most people purchased a subscription service from live TV platforms like Airtel and TataSky.

If you wanted to watch a specific movie, you would have to wait until that movie would be broadcasted on TV. You would also have to be extremely lucky to be browsing the channel, playing the movie at exactly the right time! It happened so often that the movie I wanted to watch had already been broadcast and I had missed it. There had to be a better way. There had to be a way of knowing the movie schedules so you could set a reminder for it!

This is what a Grade 7 student with no programming knowledge wanted to build! I obviously didn't know how to build the app so I came up with rough designs of how the app should look and thought maybe someone could help me build the app:)

As you can see I was not very good at designing how the app should look but it captured the basic idea. The 3rd image clearly depicts the problem the app would solve.(Yes the year is 2016!)

Having found no-one to help me build this app, I decided to build it myself!

Learning to Code

On googling how to build apps, all I found was some text written in a garbled language. I then started looking up some basic tutorials for android programming but could not understand any of them. After some time, I realised that learning to code for android without any programming basics was pretty hard. Instead, learning to code in native Java, which was the base language for android apps, would be much simpler. I did what any beginner would do and began learning the basic concepts of Java through various different platforms like YouTube, Udacity, Coursera, Codecademy etc. I was able to understand some of the basic concepts but Object Oriented Programming went over my head. To learn about OOP, I went for programming classes where my teacher clearly explained the why, the what and the how of OOP.

Building the App

After understanding the basic principles of Java, I started to code the app. I realised that developing for android was not as easy as developing in native java. However, I was now in a position to understand the android programming tutorials on the web. Having gone through several online tutorials, blog posts and who can forget, stack overflow questions, I went on to create my first app - Matricks(which stands for math tricks). Building an app to display show timings was pretty hard for a beginner like myself so instead I built a number guessing game which both my brother and I loved playing. The entire app was built in just 2 days! That's a really short amount of time but 90% of the coding iceberg journey was on spending time understanding java and the basic principles of android programming.

Here is the link to that app if you are interested:)

Concluding thoughts

Building an app was a tough and exciting journey which I will cherish. Starting from an idea to display show timings to building a simple number guessing game, my programming journey has been a lot of fun! I truly enjoyed every single part of it and am still going forward in that journey through a different route - Machine learning.

Thank you for reading till the end of this blog and I hope you enjoyed it!

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