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This 13 year-old BlackBerry developer published 97 apps in four months

By Simon Sage on 5 Dec 2012 11:32 am EST
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Meet Harrai Singh. I bumped into him at BlackBerry Jam Asia 2012. He's 13 years old, and in the four months since he's began developing on BlackBerry, he's published 97 apps. Counting BlackBerry 10PlayBook and BlackBerry, he's apparently up to 155, though I can only see 29 in App World for some reason. To be fair, the vast majority of these apps are news applications that follow more or less the same formula, only using different content feeds, but it's still an industrious start for such a young kid.

He still has a lot to learn, but Harrai only had good things to say about the atmosphere at BlackBerry Jam and how helpful everybody had been so far. Though I was surprised to see someone so young at a developer conference, I noticed that there was at least one other young go-getter in the crowd.

Developers, how young were you when you started programming? We have any other teenage programmers that are looking at getting a start with BlackBerry 10?

Reader comments

This 13 year-old BlackBerry developer published 97 apps in four months

65 Comments

Then go on. make your parents and yourself proud of you :) and gain some fortune at Blackberry World :) I know You can do that :)

I'm now 23, working in a digital agency, making iPhone apps (I know, shame on me, but it's because of my boss :() and started my own business to make blackberry apps ! :p

With all due respect for this enthusiastic young developer but we need QUALITY apps. We couldn't care less about having tons of "apps" like he is polluting BlackBerry World with. BlackBerry10 is not Android after all, if he wants to publish apps like that he should head over to Google Play instead.

Though it sounds quite harsh.. I actually agree. On the other hand, they encourage almost everyone to develop. What to do then with subpar quality apps? Maybe they need to organize Blackberry World better. Grant quality apps a official quality mark to draw attention to those apps?

Luckily that's where the "BlackBerry Certified" designation comes in. I agree as well; quality over quantity.

Wait for few months and you'll see how many "apps" BlackBerry World will have with tools like App Generator. Nokia Store was polluted within 2-3 months after they gave App Wizard to the world. I think by giving the possibility to call this as APP they discourage young guys to learn a real programming/design/etc. I hope we'll have a designed for BlackBerry section in BlackBerry World.

The problem is that it is tough to avoid seeing this scattergun approach in app world even if you would never touch the apps, some times when you go look at the new apps the majority are all this minor variant approach which makes for a much worse experience for the potential customers.

It is a shame that appworld does not limit any single developer to a single app on things like the new app page.

With the current search and ratings protocols it is hard to find the "good" apps thru the JUNK.

RIM really needs to weigh ratings or at least show how many people have voted for an app.

Maybe a number of active downloads vs downloads that have been uninstalled.

I agree completely. App World really does need a rethink. At the moment it is hard to find the diamonds in the rough as the whole place is polluted by low quality junk.

And because RIM only lists 25 apps in each of the 'New' sections, it is far too easy for great new apps to appear and then get drowned in mediocrity before it has had a chance to shine.

Well what's wrong with someone making news apps? He's 13, and if he claims to have 155 apps... that's probably 155 more apps that you have made. And who's to say that once he gains a bit more knowledge, he won't be making the next big thing for BB? He could be a child prodigy in a years making the next big thing that has the success that Angry Birds had.

Kudos for this kid though, it goes to show, with a little bit of knowledge, anyone can make apps.

THIS!

What these apps are, is a RSS Feed displayer for different web sites...man if this is all it took to get a free BB10 phone, why am I wasting my time on other things?

Let's correct, its 1 app with a bunch of different RSS Feed addresses...however I use BB News which does the same thing, and is built into one single app...

https://developers.google.com/feed/

All you have to do is build 1 form, add the API /w a RSS feed link, and voila you are done. Port over to BB vs Android and you are golden.

You have got to be F***ing kidding!

This kid was there to learn and I only hope he sticks with it, further develops his skills and gives us an amazing app(s) at some point.

Seriously, bud. Give these guys a break. You don't have to download their apps if you don't want to. Apps are apps. Some first efforts will not gain interest, but developers will learn and will produce better apps. Everyone has to start somewhere. Please don't discourage anyone from starting.

while i kinda agree in a way, we should never stamp out enthusiasm. You have to start somewhere and this young kid could come up with the next angry birds for all you or i know.

Who pissed in your cornflakes this morning? The kid is starting out and trying to do something for himself. Its called ambition and initiative. Most of the greatest ideas in the world started from simple beginnings. If his apps bring value to some people then there is a place for it in BB world. Your attitude brings NO value to the community, so if you want to spew your negativity and undermine the support for upcoming devs that BB is working toward, why dont you go write for BGR or Gizmodo and leave CB to those of us that want to support it. I get the whole hatred of fart apps, etc. but we should be supporting legit devs, trying to move forward. Your antipathy in this case doesn't lend itself to promoting a positive environment for devs at all, and without that, do you really think we'd have any apps, let alone what you would deem "QUALITY" apps?...

just saying...

I actually think the "attitude" in the first post was fair and justified. In fact, your attitude took it to a level that no one here wants.

The fact of the matter is that BlackBerry App World is currently overfilled with complete garbage repeated over and over again. We have RSS feeds like this kid is producing, ebooks, and a bunch of other generic crap. I love my BB and the apps I have on it, but the truth is that I don't even browse App World anymore because it is so hard to find anything worth downloading, and these repeated apps are the reason why. I appreciate that this 13 year old has more programming skill than I do, but all these apps should be combined into one solid app that I would actually consider downloading. That is what a good developer would have done.

The "attitude" was presented as "your apps are garbage, go develop for another platform". That's the general message you want to send to devs, despite the fact that we as a community have been needing the devs to migrate over in order to make the BB ecosystem relevant? I agree whole heartedly that there are a ton of crap apps in App World, and feel the same way you do with regards to browsing App World and all the rest of it. But to seriously call out a 13 year old, attempting "development" and showing interest in the platform that early on, and essentially telling him to beat it? That's 'fair and justified'?

You are one misguided individual. The guy you are replying to had an attitude, but the one your defending can bash a young kid for trying to develop apps.

Absolutely have to agree, as a new PlayBook owner, it's hard to find 'good' apps. Of course, it depends on what you're looking for, what 'good' looks like to you.

I've learned to look before I leap--which means reading other sites such as this and looking for reviews, I guess. But it sure makes wading through the junk and multitude of (junk) apps on App World almost impossible. Not saying anything about the present app-author of interest.

Reviews with 5-stars and titles like ksaldfjoiasudfioweruqa and reviews like kjksjdfjfjsahaasalklskalaslflfldsflksddfdfjsfsdkldjkfksladfjl don't help either. Obviously pointless, but there they are, as the latest/greatest review.

Yeah sure, you sound like the kind of guy who's impressed by seing some1 finally sorting out how to put a 2d stick tennis game on bb. If you want to stick with crappy apps that does not even work from bb model to one another go on friend.

Just don't cry in despair whenever you'll see RIM going down. They can't even make BES10 compatible with "older" device. That's named how to shoot yourself in the foot.

"polluting", are you f#cking kidding me!?! We are in dire need of apps for our platform and this is how you view new devs? A persons got to start somewhere right? What if down the road he builds a "quality" app that you couldn't live without? Id bet you would be pretty happy he was a blackberry dev and not an android as you rudely stated.

I agree.
RIM can proudly say in advertising that they have (for example) 150,000 apps in appWorld compared with Apple's (for example) 1,000,000+ apps available.

Users should expect quality control review of all apps before release to the app stores .. but RIM (Blackberry), Apple (iDevice), Google (Android), will not do that. These vendors want NUMBERS not quality in the stores. THAT is a disservice to their users. IMO, this lack of concern will be the eventual 'downfall' of their app stores.

Practice makes perfect. This kid may make 1000 crappy apps and then all of a sudden one day make the next global killer app. Who knows. Maybe he will plug a bunch of software holes for some niche groups or locals in his area. Or maybe he will just make a living selling BB apps and be one more positive voice for RIM.

Don't worry guys I am not trying to discourage anyone developing apps, especially not this potential young talent. I definitly agree everyone has to start somewhere and when he has developed his skills further and brings out an app that truly contributes to BlackBerry World I'll be the first to download it but for now.. his apps don't. I just hope RIM has some good plans for quality control for apps that are going to be released with BlackBerry10.

Also "KV Development" is a team, so more than one person (says on their site).

And much like other said, these are junk apps. Why not make 1 good one rather than split the news feeds into 100 bad ones? Hopefully the kid learned some new stuff and makes some quality BB10 apps.

I have junk apps in my IDE right now (use for testing features) that I could release but I wait till I have a full featured app before releasing them to App World. Or in that same regard I have an app that I just finished that has more content that 10 of his combined... should I have broken it up into 10 just to say "look at how many apps I have... its a big number!!!"

Good luck to this young fellow!

Remember *ALL OF US* have to start from somewhere.

Even though I am quite a bit older, and have released more complicated apps (hand-coded from scratch with Webworks, and now Marmalade SDK), I have also taken advantage of the BlackberryAppGenerator because of the time it saves for simple feeds/blogs/youtube channels.

In 5-10 years with some more experience, this young fellow will be making more complicated apps!

When I started programming I was 14, I started using Quick Basic. This was when Visual Basic 5 or 6 was out. I went over to VB6 and made myself an RPG engine because RPG Maker just wasn't programmy enough for me.

Now, I can throw out an RSS reader in less then 5 hours. A good looking one with nice visuals and animations. The actual coding part is super easy. Hell! There are a bajillian tutorials on only RSS readers. Its the new Hello World!

It teaches POST and GET. That is a good thing.

I think, since he made 155 RSS apps to different websites that he likes to visit he isn't learning very much more. MAKE A GAME kid. That will really test your coding skills. If you can make a game that doesn't bug out, you will be alright.

Then after making a game and learning how to make custom data classes and more OOP. Make an app that people actually need.

Now. Don't try and put a bunch of apps out that do the same thing, you will be seen as a spammer. But if you do still want to do that, you will have a very successful career in websites that are chock full of advertisements.

Ambitious kid. But create quality apps, not quantity. I'd rather have 5 great apps under my belt then 150 trash apps. You want to post second rate stuff then dev for Android.
________________________________________
I’d rather be a Black Sheep than an iSheep any day.

Nice to see kids involved into programming (that's why I love the Raspberry Pi), but sadly he isn't actually programming anything, he just used the BlackBerry App Generator, which doesn't require any code.

Anyway this remembered me when I started programming with Pascal. :)

There are 4 kinds of people:
1. Those who make things happen
2. Those who watch things happen
3. Those who wonder wtf just happened
4. Those who do nothing but complain about everything that is happening.

Good job little guy. I can't speak for everyone but as an adult I feel its my obligation to help a child (sorry, technically a child) any way I can. In this case all I can do is positive re inforcement but Im sure you will come across many who will continue to help you - as you will eventually help others.

I congratulate this youngster for working on advanced technology.
I don't know the quality of Apps that he produced, they might be great

But, what AppWorld needs are a few GREAT APPS.
not, GREAT NUMBERS OF APPS.

It matters NOT if a bizillion apps are available ...
so long as a FEW USEFUL APPS FOR THE MASSES ARE AVAILABLE

Why are we celebraiting loading up the APP STORE with 100 apps of the same thing over and over; those 97 apps should have been one app that are capable of accessing several news feeds. This would have provided a good quality News App and wouldn't have spammed our BlackBerry World with garbage.

I would much rather see all those APPS removed from the BlackBerry World and requested to be merged together since they are all similar apps. RIM needs to ensure we get quality apps; I would hate to see 70,000 garbage apps.

Regards,
Tehedra

Wow! Talk about a bunch of ignorant fools. I get it! You want quality apps on BB App World. This article is about a kid at the age of 13 learned and develop a bunch apps. Two separate issues!! Do not fault him for creating "crappy " apps. Fault RIM for loading them. This kid will learn and perhaps create amazing apps in the future. Perhaps you won't live long enough to enjoy it, at least there's hope for the future generations. With this kind of attitude I sincerely hope non of you are parents!! Talk about therapy for life! People are so self centered and f*ck up sometime.

you're quite aggressive :) 13 years old, it's not a child any more nowadays. Probably you're not a parent yourself if you think that a 13 years old "kid" can be praised for stealing someone's work (website's RSS) who then tries to sell it. He would be applauded by most people if HE created a website and then the app for BB device (using RSS of his own website). Also, have you noticed his intention of learning something new except going with localization? (which means he find sites on other languages and continue his "development"). When I see a kid who made even a simple app/game by himself I admire him. Because I know that, this kid is not thinking about money he can get from the app, but a learning experience and knowledge.

P.S. and yes, I'm a father of two beautiful daughters. And I'm not planning to encourage them to think about money by selling someone's work.

All I hear is Rim only has so many apps (total amount ie 100,000) or Rim has a bunch of crap. Make up your mind. I also hate having to sort through a bunch of crapps like Netflicks and Skype. Those are crapps to me. My crapps is your gold or vica versa Leave the kid alone and give him kudos!

Wow! We went very quickly from the conversation of we have no apps to we have too many junk apps. This kid is industrious and while his apps may not be the flavour in the West, perhaps they are just the sort of thing that his people need. If you can't find what 'you' need then you need to either convince this kid to build one more app, or find another solution. Isn't that what Blackberry is about, solutions to your problems?

This kid has been building rehashed of the same applies with a single line of code changed. While it's a good start for a 13 year old I don't know if the article isn't misleading. I started coding around age 9 with liberty basic. Since then I've popped around a bit from php and associated Web languages to java and mostly c++ now. 8 years of self teaching and In terms of making apps I've made little of use. I have some really half baked stuff that wasn't accepted into app world (apparently due to legal issues with emulators) and a project in the pipe that's taking me way too long to finish since I have little time and what I'm doing is insane.... So bravo for his ambition but I hope he turns out as a developer who wants to write quality and distinct apps. We need that, not rehashes.

Also this is an article more on the kid than on anything else. If it is an article on apps then this is a classic example of crappy apps. If it is an article on the kid then hooray for the kid making apps I suppose. But it's one or the other. People need to stop acting like everyone is personally attacking the kid. There's just a general frustration with the actual of spewing out app after app with little to no regard for quality or variation. People are ranting about this and NOT the fact that the kid made so many apps (for the most part). Honestly RIM should filter apps more for quality... That's the solution.

Face it: in some years china will supply around one third of all academics worldwide and India will rule the innovation of software, while Europe and the USA will become world champion of a paranoid war against terrorism and beautiful skyscrapers of banks! :-)

It seems RIM are so desparate to get their app count up they will fill App World with stuff we don't want anyway. Might as well be him as Handster. If he doesn't misrepresent his work and App world puts it into the right categories we will probably never know it's there.

good for the kid I guess, but he is not a 'developer' nor a 'programmer'

if he was 43 instead of 13 everyone would want his apps removed for spamming

not brag worthy at all imo, any kid capable of sending an email could do the same thing

Even though its true that the apps are all RSS feed-based, it sucks cause, I wish I thought of it first, I mean, he's making money off of those apps LOL

Bingo! At least one has nailed the main purpose of his "apps". Money! He doesn't care about learning any programming, and he will probably not care as long as these apps could be sold. I don't want to be rude, but my first game was written using Assembler when the computer was just a keyboard attachable to a TV with a tape (few KB of RAM, no HDD, nothing). I was 13 as well.

People, stop praising him for making 155 "apps" using some sort of RAID tool. Even a monkey can do it. What I dislike the most is that this guy uses the work of others to make money. Someone have created a website, tries to keep it running, paying for hosting/etc. Then come these type of "developers", take RSS feed of the site and start selling their "apps". The owner of the site actually loosing money because ads are not shown on these RSS feeds.

As many pointed out nobody needs quantity, we need quality. These "devs" make more damage to the store than good. As already said few times, I'm a Nokia user and I've seen the development of Nokia (former OVI) store. At the beginning there were just few apps, but it was easy to find good app. Then Nokia went with this App Wizard that allowed to create "app" from RSS feed. Now Nokia Store is a junk collector, where one can find nothing. Don't do it to BlackBerry World, pleeeeeeeeeese

Totally agree, you can not applaud something that has no quality that simply takes advantage of other people's work. Then divided in many applications (when it could be one) and charging for each. You can clearly see that his goal is to make money, he's not a great programmer, he's trying to charge you for something is free via WEB.

RIM needs to understand that the way is not to do what others do. We must demand quality in their applications, because if they don't do it the "App World" will be filled with more trash and even more people will stop using it.

well. actually he's not the slightest bit a developer at all. all he does is copy a websites rss-feed-url and pastes it into the blackberryappgenerator, then throws an icon, a banner image and some description at it and the generator spits out an app.

i'm all for encouraging people to make apps, no matter the means, but making such a fuzz about a 13-year-old who can copy and paste urls to make apps (and money) out of other peoples work is odd...

I find it quite unfortunate that some of you go out of your way to be harsh on a child who took the initiative to make contributions at such a young age. What were most of us doing when we were 13? Just because he makes RSS feeds doesn't mean he deserves the kind of remarks some of you have thrown at him. Perhaps the sites he gets the feeds from should have created their own apps. This child should be commended and encouraged.
.
I can honestly say that some of the comments in this thread make me sick. You should be ashamed of yourselves. You know who you are.

Are you a developer? If not, let me see if I can find an analogy for this.

Submitting more then 100 apps that are all the same but with a different name and link to a website has about the same difficulty level of;

writing a five paragraph essay on a Harry Potter novel.

The point I am trying to get across is, creating an app and submitting it to AppWorld is fine, but doing it repeatedly in order to game the system is wrong. There are developers who work very hard on their apps. Myself included. So when a story breaks out praising a kid on submitting crap with very little coding skills. It makes Developers who worked and worked and sweated and debugged in the late of the night feel like they wasted all the time when they could have just done the same thing.

What Rim should have done is accept a limit on the number of apps generated in the app generator. This will force people to learn code and create quality apps.

+10

And then people complain "BlackBerry World has just junk and not good apps". Sure, why real developers will waste their time to create great apps that will be simply lost among these junk. RIM shouldn't let anyone except the owner of the site to publish RSS feed using App Generator or any other tools. And they must check the ownership of content publisher tries to push into store.

Also agreed about ownership of content. There are not only junk apps but outright ripoffs. Don't know how anybody can be offering 'MarioKart' music except Nintendo, for instance, unless they performed it themselves, and even then they'd have needed to negotiate some rights.

Not something that appeals to me anyway--but how can it even be available? I've seen apps that seem to just be copies of some web code (not even the developer's code, I suspect, maybe public-domain). But they don't really function outside of a computer-based web browser (can't save, or if can save, can't find files.) The web for free, the app will cost you $10 (to do the same, non-functioning things, but without having to be connected to the internet--so that's a plus, I suppose.)

While I have not built apps my education is in developing eCommerce web sites from the ground up. Regardless, you failed to see my point.

So you do have coding skills! It is not actually hard to implement those same skills into another language. You only have to have the drive to learn more.