Janene Pappas, Level3

Janene is a software developer at Level3 Communications.

  • What do you currently do?
I work on conferencing apps for Level3 by day and by night I develop what I term “personal data management” apps. The conferencing apps enable Level3 clients to quickly start and join conference calls and I’m working to extend them to allow conference call moderation and tying them into web and video conferences.
  • How did you get started in Mac and/or iOS programming?
I did Mac programming a long time ago, working on some digital signal processing applications that provided visualizations of the data.
I started iOS programming a few years ago as I enjoy my iOS devices and wanted to learn to write apps that a lot of people could use. I’ve worked in Aerospace for many years and then in specialized desktop application development. While rewarding, those fields limit the number of people that will use them. iOS is appealing to a much wider audience. Even the (boring) conferencing app gets thousands of downloads.
  • What was the first app you created and what did it do?
It is a pet data management app – lets you enter all of your pets’ information and keep track of appointments, medications, weight, etc.
  • Where did you get the idea for the app?
I was looking for an app that would help me track my own pets and couldn’t find one that did everything I wanted. So I decided to make one of my own! I did research on the apps that existed and noted the feedback on them to determine what a great app should provide, what people were looking for, etc.
  • What went well? what could have gone better?
I included a lot of capability in the app right from the start. As a result, it took much longer to implement than I’d hoped. In the process, iOS introduced storyboards and I re-wrote much of it to use them. I didn’t regret that, but it did make it take longer. I do like the design I ended up with – I revamped that a few times trying to get something clean but fun. I bought art to use so it looks professional – art is cheap!
  • What is your favorite among the apps you’ve developed?
My first is a favorite – I love the way it turned out. It’s fun with lots of animals included. A labor of love. I think it’s highly usable, which is a passion for me. I want to write apps that my mother can use.
  • What advice do you have for young people who want to make apps?
It’s fun! Try a lot of different capabilities, in small chunks. Learn the basics of forms – text input, buttons, etc – then go into other areas. If you aren’t a great artist, use the free stuff or buy some basic buttons, etc. so your app looks sharp. I also tried to learn the recommended industry-standard methods of implementing functionality. GitHub is your friend! As is StackOverflow.

Follow Janene on Twitter and App.net.

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