Developer Interview: TextDooDad

Diana Luckevich is the developer of “TextDooDad“, an Android app that provides data and analysis of your text messages and some additional capabilities. Don’t miss Ellie’s unbiased review of TextDooDad here.

I sent Diana some questions, and she was nice enough to tell us all about her experience with programming and releasing an Android app, which you can read below. This is our first in what I hope will become a long series of profiles of female Android developers. If you happen to be one, please contact me at renee@womenwithdroids.com and we may profile you and your app here on WomenWithDroids!

Without further ado, I invite you to enjoy our Q&A with Diana Luckevich!

Diana, how did you get interested in computers and computer programming in the first place, and at what age did you start learning to program?

I was introduced to programming during my second year in college at age 19. A programming class was a requirement for a business degree. I knew after a week in this programming class that I would switch my major from business to computer science. The reason I liked programming was because the end goal was clearly defined and I knew when I was finished with a program, because it worked.

When and why did you decide to develop for the Android OS? How did you learn how to write apps for mobile devices?

I started programming Android in November 2008. I taught myself by taking examples of working code from anddev.org, by reading The Busy Coder’s Guide to Android Development, and by looking at the API demos from Google. Android is the only mobile device software that I know and I have no plans to learn any other platform.

How did you come up with the idea for TextDooDad and how long did it take you to develop it from the idea stage to publishing it in the market?

I developed TextDooDad so I could answer questions like: How long has it been since I last texted each of my contacts? Do I send as many texts as I receive? How much time do I spend talking to everyone? But I really wanted an easy way to save my favorite texts apart from a thread so that I read them again. I also wanted to read my texts with a better date format and font size.

TextDooDad has taken me about 6 months of after-hours work to bring to market the current version. I changed the UI numerous times as I used the app all throughout the day.

What did it feel like to publish an app that anyone in the world can download and try and rate?

I am grateful to Google for providing the ability to easily publish Android apps on the Market. It surely beats burning and shipping CDs like the old days. I hope that people like TextDooDad, and I’m really looking forward to getting some constructive feedback via email.

As an individual developer, I do not have the luxury of having teams of others helping to fine tune and find glitches. So the price of a free app for consumers is a little of their time to send a developer an email with their comments. I appreciate the rating system as a user of other’s apps because it helps me find good apps, too. However, as a developer we would like suggestions to come via email so that we can follow up with our users. Maybe Google will build two types of comments mechanisms so users can feel free to comment in more detail.

(Note from Renee: It appears they are improving the Android Market feedback system for Android 2.2. Please make use of all feedback options – most developers love feedback and will utilize it to improve their apps! Some apps even have “email the developer” links in their menus.)

Diana, have you had any notable experiences related to being a woman in your field of work? What advice do you have for young ladies that are considering becoming software developers?

I’ve been in computing for over 30 years now and haven’t paid much attention to being a woman in computing. However, I’ve noticed that there are not enough women’s names or faces in the Android world. This is worrisome. Android is a level playing field and more women should join in.

It is really fun to create innovative solutions from ideas in your head. It’s artistic and scientific at the same time. I think one of the fears that may hold women back from entering the computing field is the fear of math. Frankly, I never use much more than 3rd grade addition in my programs. However, one needs to have good logic and problem solving skills to succeed in programming.

I think that Android programming is a great field for women who have curiosity to figure things out and persistence to keep trying when things fail. Android is a terrific platform to learn. All you need is an Internet connection and a computer. Google supplies the rest. Well, a nice Android phone is a wise choice to have too in order to field test your creations.

Thank you, Diana for enlightening us about your development experiences! Readers, you can learn more about TextDooDad from Ellie’s review here.

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