Python, MATLAB and Swift — For people who are not coding enthusiasts, all these programming languages may sound like something that will never be their cup of tea. For Jon Templeton, however, he is a passionate explorer and problem-solver in the field of computer science.
Templeton, a computer science sophomore at the College of Engineering and Computer Science of Syracuse University, just launched his first application, Skosh!, via App Store in April. This is the project that he has spent much of his time over the past year designing and developing. He is the type of person who eventually found his real interests after immerging in and practicing in the world.
Back in his high school time, Templeton is part of Team USA, a competitive drone racing team of the Drone Champions League. He served as a drone pilot and designer and won sixth place in several national competitions. Because of his outstanding performances, he also received sponsorships from several companies in the droning industry. This experience, more importantly, led him to his major of aerospace engineering.
“I really enjoyed the MATLAB class that I took in school, but I wanted to do more because that was kind of limited in what I can do [in class],” Templeton said. “Then, I went ahead to learn Python over the summer [of 2020] and started getting pretty interested in it.”
Because of his passion for learning more about coding, Templeton decided to switch his major to computer science, which focuses more on coding, starting in the spring of 2021. As this is the first semester in the new major, he took a few introductory classes that serve to build up his base for further engineering.
Besides normal coursework, however, Templeton is an eager learner and explorer in the field that he always wants to figure out something more by himself to develop some projects.
“I wanted to do different projects that were more mainstream, so I was just kind of motivated by what we learned in the classroom and wanting to dive deeper,” Templeton said. Skosh! is what he created during his spare time.
The idea of Skosh! came from Templeton’s thought of designing a good way for couples to talk and give one another a love note, and this note can be shown on the home screen by using widgets on an iPhone. Therefore, Templeton started in December 2020 to teach himself how to code and design an application like this.
It is not an easy process for Templeton to develop this application because he is not an experienced developer and, more importantly, knew no one to reach out to when he encountered problems except using tutorials.
“I had been working, which took me a long time, to fix all the bugs [for the application] because there’s just a lot of different test cases that it’s hard to do all of them,” Templeton said, adding that he ultimately found a couple of friends to help beta test.
Fixing bugs took Templeton plenty of time because he has been the only developer so far for the application. When he was the only one writing and designing the program, he was aware of all the “ins and outs” that he might not encounter any inconvenience during his using process. Nevertheless, as soon as he introduced the app to more new users, they provided various feedback that was not something Templeton expected during the designing process.
“I have to make sure that the application runs smoothly for every single user,” Templeton said. “Some of the issues I ran into with it were in development or the lack of documentation, especially with widgets because they’re still beta on the Apple documentation, so it was really difficult to get help from anyone.”
The documentation that Templeton referred to is that for all coding languages, whenever they implement a new feature or a language in general, they will give developers instructions and tools — documentation and exemplar cases of how a certain function should be used with a description of what it exactly does.
“A lot of the apple documentation, however, it gives you a good description of what it is, but there aren’t a lot of examples of somebody using it,” Templeton said, which caused him more problems during the developing process.
The whole developing and pre-launching process took Templeton around four months, and he finally got the approval and launched his application on the App Store in April. Right now, instead of fully focusing on polishing the application, Templeton also hopes to spread the word to more people for getting a wider user base.
Recalling back his long process of developing Skosh!, Templeton is satisfied with and proud of his achievement so far.
“I’m happy that I got it on the App Store, and that was the goal of this project,” Templeton said. “I also don’t have any bugs [so far,] so I’m really happy that people can use it smoothly.”
Download the five-star rated app and give it a try this summer: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/skosh/id1549767246
Story by LaunchPad Global Fellow Kaizhao Zero Lin ’21; Photos supplied