Edinburgh Napier University Masterclass 2015

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Crossing over to the dark side

You can clearly see we are developing! Back in 2013 we visited Knox Academy in Haddington helping students with their app idea. Last year we progressed to higher education giving a guest lecture on our experiences with cross-platform development. Just last week we were back at Napier University, this time presenting both a lecture and a tutorial on mobile app development to students.

As the trimester was drawing to an end, and final projects had already been submitted, our talk was almost a Capstone for their module. Since it was just a day before Easter break, I have to admit we were a bit surprised that they actually turned up, and I am really glad they did!

I spent the first two hours in Jack Kilby Computer Centre giving a very intensive, fast-tracked introduction to Titanium Appcelerator Alloy development. This is a brilliant framework that enables you to develop mobile applications much more efficiently than natively. According to official figures, you can reuse 60-90% of code across device platforms. From our experience in some very simple apps, this rate can be even higher.
Since Edinburgh Napier stresses the employability of their student, I decided to base my tutorial around the process of building a simple tabbed CV application. Not only did we cover the Alloy framework, but we also skimmed through some Android and iOS design patterns.

Luckily by the end of the tutorial they were not completely bored to death, as they all turned up to the second part – in a more conventional lecture environment. This time, with Josh to back me up, we finally had a chance to properly introduce ourselves and talk more about our business, from the very beginning to where we are now. We decided to explain the app development process using one of our current clients as an example, focusing on a project that we are currently developing for mountain bike coaching company – Dirt School. We went over the whole process from getting first contacted by a client, to an actual app release. Along the way, we highlighting the importance of user experience and testing. Bearing in mind that not that long ago it might have been us sitting in their seats, we were able to be very honest about our experiences and stress all of our biggest mistakes and oversights, hoping to pass on some wisdom to those who may be in the same position in the future. I remember that when I was a student it was exactly this kind of practical insight that I was really interested in: information about day-to-day practice and the tools people are actually using.

If YOU have an app idea and would like to find out more, have a look at our app development process.

Well we must have been fairly interesting, as we have been asked to come back next year.

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