Should we be worried that a nine-year-old can explain how to interface with the 31-pin sync port, or that he’s got an opinion on Objective-C? Nah. Especially when the software development wunderkind is singing PhoneGap’s praises after building his own app with the PhoneGap framework. The app, “Back Together Interactive”, is available on iTunes and the whiz-kid who built it is nine-year-old Jesse Friedman.
Jesse built "Back Together Interactive" for a chiropractor in Philadelphia, Dr. Andrew Kirschner, who wanted to provide his patients with videos of wellness activities that they could watch on an iPad and practice at home.
“‘Back Together Interactive’ is an interface for browsing videos [of different] treatments for back pain and techniques for back pain. You can also view an introduction to anatomy, email Back Together and link to the Back Together Blog and the Back Together Forum. In addition to the main menu, there are links on each video page to the treatment’s individual forum page," explains Jesse.
Clearly, the “together” in the title comes from an effort to connect people will similar symptoms. Jesse put a lot of thought into connecting users with other patients with the same back problems. He carefully considered both the technical process of building the app and the customer community that would benefit from his finished product.
Never mind that he's building apps at nine-years-old, Jesse has been thinking big picture and keeping up-to-date on science and software news since he was at least seven. That's how old he was when he first learned about Phonegap: "I came upon an article about PhoneGap in a Popular Science magazine one or two years ago, and by total coincidence, I read the article again after I was commissioned to create the app."
Jesse built "Back Together" for the iPad so he could "fully display the hi-res compressed 14+ gigabyte total videos" that accompany it. "Apps can be built in HTML with Phonegap, and since I know and like HTML, I figured Phonegap would be the best framework. Also, I like the absence of Objective-C," he added.
So what's Jesse working on next? He's building an app that focuses on dowsing. Yes, dowsing, as in the ancient concept of finding water or metal underground with little to no equipment and a medal rod.
“I am amazed!”, said Amy, Jesse’s mom. “Jesse has always been a pretty amazing kid, in lots of ways, but this was a prodigious accomplishment. I am very, very proud of him, for his determination, problem-solving, creativity, and absorption of knowledge."
She’s equally thrilled that Jesse’s story and PhoneGap app were recently featured on msnbc.com. When we asked Jesse what he wanted to be when he grew up, he answered: "mostly a computer scientist, but the full list may require a few more gigabytes of space on Google Docs."