Gwynne Raskind, Chaotic Moon Studios

  • What do you currently do?

I’m currently employed at Chaotic Moon Studios as a Senior Software Developer. I also do freelance work on the side, and I’m working on a second edition of Amit Singh’s famous, but unfortunately outdated, internals tome, “Mac OS X Internals: A Systems Approach”.

  • How did you get started in Mac and/or iOS programming?

I got started in programming very young, though I didn’t do much in the way of real development until much later. Until a few years ago, I was purely a hobbyist, but I finally began working professionally based on an offer from a friend and found out, hey, it’s still fun!

  • What was the first app you created and what did it do?

The first app I created that had any real function at all was a preference pane for OS X called “MusicImage”; it grabbed the currently playing iTunes track, built a small PNG image with the track info and an optional background, and made it available on my VPS for use in forum signatures – this was back in the mid-2000s, when signatures on sites such as Gaia Online were all the rage. I only kept it updated for a year or so, and it never had more than about 20 users, but it was fun.

  • Where did you get the idea for the app?

One day while I was posting on Gaia Online and noticing how everyone had “dynamic” signatures on a decidedly static (at the time) forum system, I thought it’d be neat to put my current music in my signature. I didn’t realize at the time how terrible a PHP script backed by a MySQL database would have been for scalability if more than a few people had ever used it! 🙂

  • What went well? What could have gone better?

Really, it all went well; it was a learning experience and I had fun doing it. The main thing that could’ve gone better was me paying more attention to it once it was up and running; I tended to leave it to its own devices and only find out much later that it was down or broken for the few users it had, often because I’d made assumptions or changes that worked only for my computer and configuration.

  • What is your favorite among the apps you’ve developed?

Not having done many actual “apps”, it’s hard to say! But my favorite project to date was working on PLCrashReporter, a backend framework used by developers for detecting and reporting crashes in their apps. It required a lot of research into the internal functioning of the system, also known as the “nitty gritty details”; I love the nitty gritty details :).

  • What advice do you have for young people who want to make apps?

Never assume you know everything you need to know about what you’re doing, because you don’t; there’s always something you didn’t consider, something you weren’t aware of, or something that will change, even after you’re done. Always be ready and willing to continue learning.

Follow Gwynne on Twitter and App.net.

Help more girls learn software development. Contribute to the App Camp For Girls Indiegogo fundraiser, get a cool perk, and enjoy the feeling of having helped the next generation of software developers.

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