Meet Ana Balica!

Ana is one of our Learn IT, Girl! scholars, a recent graduate of Technical University of Moldova. Contributing to free and open source software is one of her passions. She is actively developing the Systers Portal and also trying to build a community of active contributors.

We’ve asked Ana if she could share with us her experience with the program and the Android application she’s developed:

Ana Balica“Meow Letters” is a game intended for children to practice their knowledge of the alphabet. Kids are supposed to create chains of consecutive and adjacent letters. The game makes you think fast, since when the timer is up, the board fills up with new letters. It’s game over when the board is full. The main achievement metric is the amount of points accumulated. Not so sophisticated in theory, but rather complex when trying to convey the goal of the game to the end user.

With “Meow Letters” I’ve had the beauty and the burden to work on a project from scratch, acting as a developer, tester, designer. I’ve started with the app requirements, describing each element and use case as precise as possible. Then I did some wireframing to be able to create a rough interface. I continued with the logic part of the game, adding some unittests. Then moving on to visual and interaction part. When it felt ready, I put apart all the code and designed the visual part of the game. Eventually the interface was implemented, a few discovered bugs fixed and in 2 days it was on the Play Store.

The main reason of enrolling in this program, was to learn a statically typed language and push myself to bring an app to a production release. I’m still not sure if I would ever consider using Java for any of my projects, but I see the benefit of knowing its strengths and weaknesses.

I know the app is far from perfect, but I’m still glad I put it on the Play Store. Because in that way I learned that Android market is huge and it takes a tremendous effort to release a quality app by covering all those customized Android versions, different screen densities and other little details that occur here and there for a small subset of devices. Even though we now have powerful tools, like Android Studio (Android IDE from JetBrains) and Genymotion (fast Android emulator), there is still need for real hardware in order to test apps. I hope the fragmentation problem will be solved in the near future.

All in all, I believe the effort of disciplined work during those 8 weeks made me a better developer. I thank the organizers and my mentor for the help and collaboration.

Thank you too, Ana!

You can check out Ana’s application in the Play Store, and you can find her on GitHub and YouTube.


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