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One of Our Own: The Youngest iOS Developer in the World

6/12/2012

Jonathan Buchanan, a fifth grader at Maumee Valley, was frustrated that the only time he could play his favorite game, ChipTrading, was during math class. Not allowing life's small complications to stand in the way, he developed a new app and submitted it to Apple for approval. On May 5, 2012, Apple made ChipTrading available for download for 99 cents, and 10-year-old Jonathan Buchanan became the world's youngest person to independently develop his own app. Jonathan is much happier now that his favorite game is finally mobile.

Apple's site describes the game as follows:

"ChipTrading is a simple game that reinforces the basic mathematical concepts of place value, number multiples, division, addition and others. The game is based on the popular chip trading activity used by teachers and parents around the globe.
 
ChipTrading is easy to learn and play. Roll the dice and allocate virtual chips in the color/value columns to match the running grand total. Each column is limited to a maximum number of chips, forcing you to use chips of higher value when appropriate. Once satisfied with the positions of your chips, check your answer. The game provides immediate feedback by letting you roll again if the chip allocation is correct. If incorrect, you can simply reallocate your chips and check your new answer.
 
Play against yourself by seeing how high you can take your grand total before making a mistake or how far you can get in a set period of time. For a little competition, play with friends - see who gets to the highest value purple chips first or who gets the farthest in an agreed-upon time period."
  
According to Google, Jonathan Buchanan is the world's youngest person to successfully create and develop an app, although Apple has yet to officially confirm. 

It took him about 2 to 3 weeks to complete the coding and design. During a presentation to the Toledo chapter of CocoaHeads, an international group dedicated to the discussion of Mac OS and iOS programming, Jonathan said he only spent "30 minutes a day working on the coding." His parents, Renee and Matt did not assist Jonathan with the coding or design, but offered their help when it came time to submitting the finished work to Apple. 

Jonathan also told the CocoaHeads group that the most difficult programming challenge was "getting the logic of the game to work right. It was tough, because I had to figure out all the formulas myself."

ChipTrading is currently only availalbe as an iPhone app, but Jonathan plans to create a universal version that includes both iPhone and iPad versions of the game. 

Jonathan's ambitious leap into the world of smart gaming is not over yet.  He plans to make ChipTrading available through Game Center, which will open it up to a much larger network of players. His personal aspiration is to have "teachers all around the world be able to use it to help their students."

Jonathan and his dad, Matt, are now working on creating a social journaling platform called Daystream. This integrative platform will eventually allow ChipTrading players to post their scores to online Daystream journals.

Watch WTOL's news report about Jonathan Buchanan, here.  
View ChipTrading App in iTunes, here.
Watch Part I of Jonathan's presentation to CocoaHeads, here. 
Watch Part II of Jonathan's presentation to CocoaHeads, here.

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