Friday, January 1, 2016

Celebrating Android app creators

Ever wonder what makes an app great? After completing Udacity's Developing Android Apps course, these students created winning apps as voted on by their peers and Google engineers. Check out their work below and consider creating your own Android app today!


Ravi explains his app to Google engineers.

App Award: “Most Creative”
App: Mozart's Masterpiece
Creator: Ravi Srinivasan (junior at Virginia Tech)
Background: The idea of the “Mozart’s Masterpiece” app came from Ravi’s love of piano playing (he’s played since he was six!). He wanted to create something that combined his interest in music and programming. The app is comprised of a mini keyboard where users can play a tune and see if the app can guess the song. Ravi said, “There are apps out there that teach users how to play, but I wanted to create an app that was a game for pianists.”
Challenges: Ravi shared that it was difficult to decide what the UI would look like and noted that the sound detection was also no easy feat.



Here we have Dhruv and Brennan.

App Award: “Engineer's’ Choice”
App: IVO
Creators: Brennan McConnell (junior at University of Colorado Boulder) and Dhruv Diddi (junior at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign)
Background: Dhruv told us, “Brennan came up with the idea of having an app which locks social media to a geographic location and I was instantly interested in working on it. We took a few days to come up with a draft for the application (UI, methods to implement, frameworks to use) and settled on the name IVO (an appropriate acronym for "In Vicinity Of").” IVO is a social media app that allows users to post a message or picture in a given location using geocaching. Users in the future can look up the the location and see past photos and messages about the area. The social aspect comes from a feature that lets the users like and comment on the posts.
Challenges: Aside from the technical skills required for making such a complex app, such as learning Java, developing a greater understanding of Android’s framework, and working with different APIs, the team also had to think about scaling the app to thousands of users.





Francesca, Christina, Jonah, and Daisy show that their app can be used across devices.

App Award: “People's Favorite”
App: Glance
Creators: Jonah Sterling (sophomore at University of Kentucky), Francesca Bueti (sophomore at Stevens Institute of Technology), Daisy Zhang (sophomore at Vanderbilt University), and Christina Tobias (sophomore at Syracuse University)
Background: This team created an app, Glance, that connects all of a user’s social media accounts together and uses intricate algorithms to analyze what posts are most meaningful and relevant to the user. Christina said, “We thought that with everyone’s busy lives, we could help take out some of the clutter from their social media by finding who their top friends for each social media platform are and combining all these posts into one feed.“ Moreover, in an effort to make the app even more user-friendly, the app can be used across all devices.
Challenges: The team agreed that developing new technical skills, like learning the fundamentals of creating an Android app, was the biggest takeaway for them. But most importantly, they gained a better understanding of what it’s like to collaborate on code. According to Daisy, “This was also my first time working in a team remotely, so I learned a lot about keeping up with everyone and making sure everyone was doing their part. I also learned that you don’t write the cleanest code at 3 in the morning, but you are super productive at that hour.”



Check out the app winners! Left to right: Dhruv, Brennan, Ravi, Christina, Daisy, Francesca, and Jonah.

Congratulations to these winners! We can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

To learn more about ways to boost your computer science skills, visit the Google Student Programs website.

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