Geek Projects Special: Coding

I fixed... London parking

Enric Requena, co-founder of AppyParking / appyparking.com

"When I came to London I was working on mobile apps for lots of different clients. I think I did about 20 different apps and one of them was for Dan Hubert.

Later on, Dan had the idea for AppyParking and he took the idea to the co-founder of a start-up I used to work for, but he couldn’t do it so he pointed Dan towards me. I’d just quit my job and was going to start freelancingbut I met with Dan, who had started collecting data on parking zones from different councils, and we started to develop AppyParking.

The first thing to do when making an app is to start brainstorming and create some mock-ups of different screens. You need to visualise the whole thing so you can decide where the buttons are going to be and work out how you see things working. Once you’ve got all your ideas together, you need to prioritise what’s most important and work on those things first. There are lots of online resources, such as Cocoapods.org, which have loads of things you can take advantage of that have already been implemented and tested elsewhere.

Once you’ve made something you put it out there and get some feedback from users. It’s important to make a good system for them to report what other functionality they need and what they would like to add. I think that’s the best way to develop an app. Start with something very small and then keep adding things – don’t try to build the finished thing straight away because you might end up with something full of things that people don’t like or don’t use and then you’ve wasted your time.

We’re working on our third version now, which we hope to have ready by March. We’re expanding to 33 boroughs, adding more data, a better API and a content management system that will allow us to expand to other cities more easily. We’d like to cover the whole of the UK, or at least the eight major cities." 

Project #3 (fiendish): Learn to mod

Block-’em-up codingLearnToMod (US$40 (RM145)/year / learntomod.com) teaches coding through creating modifications for Minecraft. It’ll teach you the fundamental concepts through Blockly’s drag-and-drop interface, so you can learn about if-statements, Boolean logic and event-driven programming without dealing with Javascript.

Go to gaming collegeYou can use LearnToMod’s online studio to combine Blockly and Javascript. There are extra online tutorials created by staff from the University of San Diego that’ll teach you the latter. What you create can be tested on private LearnToMod servers, but you’ll need your own copy of the game to run them.

Dungeons and creepersThere are various badges to earn with gradually increasing difficulty. Controlling the weather and summoning Creepers are level-one skills; it goes all the way up to designing mini-games to play within the Minecraft world, plus writing the code for procedurally generating your own dungeons.

READ MORE: How indie games conquered the world

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