A Peek Into the Life of a Tweak Developer and WWDC Student Scholarship Applicant


Last week, Apple opened up its scholarship program for students and announced that it will be selecting up to 150 developers to get free tickets for WWDC 2013 (a $1,599 value). Not only will these students get free tickets, but they will get to go to the event–many developers that were even willing to pony up full-price for the tickets didn’t catch them in time.

Upon hearing this, I went on a manhunt to find a student entering the competition. This is yet another year that Apple has offered students this opportunity, and I wanted to offer you–the iFans readers–a peek into one of these developers’ lives and their contest entry.

This past Monday, I reported on the NowNow tweak and its compatibility with the iOS version of Google Now. Nick Frey, the developer of this tweak, just so happened to mention on Twitter that he submitted his entry for the WWDC Student Scholarship program. He was kind enough to share a little about himself and his entry, and you can find that interview below.


Kindly offer some basic info about yourself.

I’m Nick Frey, a web and iOS developer in high school. I co-founded and develop CodeThemed, YouTube+, and Schedulous, three projects which take all the spare time I have. I enjoy making beautiful and useful software and can’t imagine doing anything else. I also love music and play guitar and trombone.

2013-05-03 15_59_35-CodeThemed » Theme your iPhone, iPod, or iPad.

Nick Frey created CodeThemed, a service to create, mix and share your iOS themes.

Do you have any apps published to the App Store?

I haven’t yet submitted apps to the App Store. I work with a friend — Jonathan Mazaltov (@mazalthan) — on apps and we are planning a couple App Store releases this year, which will be an exciting step from the jailbreaking scene.

What tweaks have you made besides NowNow?

AnyLockApp allows you to replace the lockscreen camera shortcut with any other app of your choice. Lingual is a Siri extension that allows you to translate to other languages and hear the translated text aloud. Unfortunately, Lingual is currently incompatible with iOS 6 because the AssistantExtensions package hasn’t been updated. CodeThemed is the premier project I work on, which isn’t really a tweak but there are some really great things in store for its upcoming redesign.

What are your favorite jailbreak tweaks made by other developers?

I don’t use many tweaks, but Auxo is definitely my favorite. The design is gorgeous.

Frey's favorite tweak is the beautiful Auxo by Jack Willis

Frey’s favorite tweak is the beautiful Auxo by Jack Willis

When did you start programming for iOS devices? How did you learn to do so?

I began web development in 2007 or 2008 at age 13, and in 2010 began iOS app development. I didn’t really sit down and learn Objective-C, I just picked it up and searched questions I had as I went along (stackoverflow is an invaluable resource). Since Objective-C has a vaguely similar syntax as other languages, it wasn’t extremely difficult to pick up, but it definitely is unique. I recall starting out using Interface Builder primarily, then gradually switched to programming all of the UI components in my apps.

Have you been to WWDC?

I have not. Every year that I’ve known about it it’s been a tradition to watch the leaked live stream on a Skype call just to feel like I’m there.

Did you initially intend on purchasing normal tickets for WWDC? If so, were you one of the unlucky few that didn’t make it into the 2-minute timeframe?

I didn’t intend on purchasing a ticket. It would have been really difficult anyway, given I was in school when tickets went on sale.

The app submission requires that “your educational and professional background, technical skills, and interests” are shown. Could you briefly tell us what the elements you included in your app are?

The highlight of my app is the projects I’ve worked on; they’re the first thing you see. I selected well-contrasted photos that represent each project and, when one is tapped, a summary of the project’s history appears with an animating slideshow of images. There’s also a tab bar to access the “skills” and “about me” sections which outline programming I have experience with and my current and future plans.

Was there anything special about your app submission that you might want to share?

Nothing I can think of.

What was the hardest part about making this app for the scholarship promotion?

When I heard about the scholarship opportunity, I realized the short amount of time you have from start to finish to create an attractive app about yourself. The hardest part for me was coming up with the initial design and making choices as I went along; you can’t dwell on things too long or you won’t meet the deadline. I think that was a great decision on Apple’s part; given this hadn’t been a requirement in previous years for the scholarship, everyone truly had one week without notice which is a fair test of each applicant’s abilities.

Do you have any apps or tweaks you’re working on that you’re hoping will benefit from your potential trip to WWDC?

None that I’d like to discuss.

If you win the trip, what workshops are you most likely to be interested in?

I’m not honestly sure. I haven’t thought about it, but I’d probably attend sessions on memory management/performance, auto-layout, gaming, and using any new features iOS 7 may bring.

Thanks, Nick Frey!

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